UAE legal Q&As: What can friend expect after arrest over medicine at airport?

One reader asks about entering the country with controlled prescription drugs, while another asks about how they can help their son, who has been arrested.

Powered by automated translation

A friend of mine called me recently to say that he had been arrested at Dubai airport for carrying prescription medicine without the prescription. I am a European who lives outside the UAE so I don’t have much knowledge about such cases in the UAE. Can you tell me more?

It is unfortunate what happened to your friend but there are a list of medicines that cannot be brought into the UAE without having a prescription for them. UAE Criminal Law No 14 of 1995 and its amendments define and lists which medicines are banned or require a prescription to be presented. If a person is found to be in possession of such medicines without the right prescription, the accused could face a prison sentence of a minimum of six months and one that could potentially exceed two years jail and a fine of Dh10,000 plus deportation, in accordance with Article No 39 and 40 of the same law.

My son was arrested by Dubai Police some time ago and is now being kept in central jail. I need to help him but I don’t know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

From my point of view, the best way to help your son would be to appoint a lawyer, who would be able to visit him in the prison, listen to what he says and advise him on the likely outcomes of his particular situation. In most cases, his lawyer will have the right to apply for bail, by keeping some guarantee such as his passport or another person’s (guarantor) passport until the end of the criminal investigation. This is according to Article No 111, 112, 113, 114, 115 and 116 of the UAE Criminal Procedures Law. It should be noted that the granting of bail is up to prosecutors and the courts whether to accept the request or not. After the prosecution investigation is finished and the case is transferred to the criminal court, the lawyer will be able to get a copy of the case file, study the case and advise him on his best strategy to defend himself in court.

If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to with the subject line “Know the law”.