Q: What can I do if my maid gets pregnant out of wedlock and abandons her workplace? Should I report her to the police or to her consulate? And if I called the police, what would happen to the maid, if arrested? If she is caught years after the incident, would she still be punished?
A: If a maid gets pregnant out of wedlock and abandons her employer, the first step the sponsor should take is to notify the Residence and Foreigners' Affairs Department, as well as the police and the Ministry of Labour. If she is arrested, she may be punished for leaving the sponsor and for fornication. However, fornication and out-of-wedlock pregnancy and birth are subject to limitations, so if she is arrested five years later, the charges will be dropped. But if she is arrested within five years she will face charges - punishable by imprisonment and deportation - and her child would most likely have to remain with her in jail while she serves the sentence. Embassies are not to get involved when it comes to absconding, but officials are kept informed of the proceedings.
Q: How do police decide whether or not one is drunk? Does the UAE have alcohol tests similar to those conducted in the US?
A: Tests in the UAE are conducted in laboratories that produce definitive results. No one has ever challenged the test results; the objection is only ever in relation to the penalty or to shun responsibility. The tests are often conducted on blood samples taken from people suspected of having consumed alcohol, whether they have been involved in a car crash, for example, or have been involved in a problem between two or more people, and, of course, if the police have been notified of the incident. Dubai Police, though, does not stop people just to check if they have drunk alcohol.
Q: What could happen if I were to be caught driving without a driving licence?
A: Article 51 of the Federal Traffic Law stipulates that driving a vehicle on the roads without a licence or with a licence that is not compatible with the type of vehicle driven, is punishable with a minimum of three months in prison and/or a fine of no less than Dh5,000. Article 55 states that if a person is proven guilty of an offence related to driving a vehicle, the court is entitled to: first, suspend the motorist's licence for a given period, or deprive them of the right to renew a licence after the expiry of the said suspended licence; and second, decide to deprive the motorist of the right of obtaining a licence for a specific period of time if the motorist did not hold a licence in the first place. Anyone banned from obtaining a licence can apply to the court that made the ruling against them to cancel the ban six months after the date of conviction.
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