UAE legal Q&As: What is the punishment for being caught drunk by police?

One reader fears of the consequences of being caught drunk, while another asks about whether her daughter can return to the UAE after being put on a black list due to a health condition.

q I worked in Jebel Ali until 10 months ago, when I was caught drunk by police who seized my passport. I’m afraid I will lose my job and was wondering what happens to me in a case like this, when I’m a non-Muslim? I want to know how much the fine may be and if there would be further punishment?

a If, as a non-Muslim, you were caught drinking alcohol without a licence you will be referred to the Court of Misdemeanours at Dubai, which can fine you an amount determined by the judge that should be paid to the court’s treasury after the verdict is issued. However, if you were caught drunk while driving a vehicle, that is a violation of traffic law and so it is punishable with a fine of up to Dh20,000 and your driving licence would be suspended for a period of time determined by the court. As for losing your job in relation to this incident, that is an matter between you and your employer, as there is nothing in law that bans employing someone who has been on trial for only consuming alcohol.

Three years ago, my daughter came to Dubai on a visit visa and found a job but she failed her medical test because of scarring on her lungs, so she was sent back home. My daughter was treated at home and her health is now fine. We were planning another visit to Dubai for a holiday but some people say my daughter will have a lifetime ban. Is that the case? If true, is there a way to cancel it?

Yes, your daughter’s name will be on a list and there is no guarantee that it can be removed. I would suggest you obtain all of the medical reports that confirm your daughter has recovered and no longer suffers from the illness and then you contact the Department for Naturalisation and Residency and submit a plea to remove your daughter’s name from the list.

Yousef Al Bahar is an advocate at Al Bahar and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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