Penalty and Punishment for Drink and Drive in the UAE
UAE Drink and Drive Laws
While drunk driving anywhere usually attracts strict penalties, drunk driving laws, including punishments, vary by country. Even though the United Arab Emirate (UAE) has a zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving, many visitors, including expatriate workers, are unaware of the country’s drunk driving laws.
For some visitors, the allure of Dubai and UAE’s lively nightlife quickly becomes a nightmare when they are arrested for drinking and driving. A drunk driving offense in the UAE can have adverse implications, including imprisonment, hefty fines, driving license suspension, and confiscation of your vehicle. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, there are many reasons why you should not drink and drive in the UAE.
UAE’s Law on Drinking and Driving
While it is not a crime to consume alcohol in the UAE, the country has some stringent laws on drinking in general, especially drunk driving. For instance, it is illegal to drink in public, including on the street or without a license. You should also be at least 21 years old to consume alcohol in the UAE.
As a tourist or an expatriate, you still need a license to drink alcohol, even in venues like hotels and private clubs. Additionally, you should only purchase alcohol from specialized and licensed liquor stores. Generally, UAE’s strict drinking laws are meant to deter drunk driving.
With drunk drivers causing approximately 14% of all road accidents in the UAE, the country has very strict Traffic Laws. With drunk drivers threatening their safety and other road users, the strict laws, including severe penalties, help curb the destructive habit. Under UAE’s Federal Law No. 21 of 1995, drunk driving is a punishable criminal offense.
Accordingly, the law requires individuals to avoid driving any vehicle when drunk or under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic substances. The individual should abstain from driving regardless of whether the consumed substance is legal or illegal. Additionally, the UAE regularly amend its traffic laws to reduce traffic casualties on its roads.
Penalty for Drunk Driving in the UAE
According to Article No.49 of the UAE Traffic Law, a drinking and driving offender is subject to:
- imprisonment, and or
- a fine of not less than Dh25,000
A police officer can also arrest a driver according to Article No.59.3 of the Traffic Laws if they suspect or find the driver is guilty of:
- causing death or injuring another person as a result of drunk driving
- reckless driving
- losing control of a vehicle as a result of driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic substance
Additionally, the court can also suspend the driving license of a drunk driving offender for a period of between three months and two years, depending on the severity and nature of the offense. Under Article No.58.1 of the Traffic Laws, the court can deny the individual the chance to get a new license even after the expiry of the suspended one.
Regardless of the strict penalties and ongoing campaigns, many people in the UAE, especially non-nationals, still drink and drive. However, it is in your best interest to avoid driving while drunk. Besides the obvious dangers, UAE severely punishes drunk driving offenders. You also risk making your UAE stay extremely hard as you can lose your driving privileges once you have been convicted of drunk driving.
What You Should Do?
Like many people living in the UAE, you probably relocated to the country due to its excellent business and employment opportunities. The country’s warm weather and exceptional living standards were perhaps the other attractions. However, a drunk driving conviction can jeopardize your dream and turn your stay into a nightmare. There are serious consequences of drunk driving in the UAE.
Besides fines and imprisonment, having your driving license suspended or vehicle confiscated can adversely affect your life, including business endeavours. You also risk losing your current job. Whether an expatriate worker or a resident, a drunk driving conviction also reduces your job options. For instance, it might be hard to get a job in some industries, including the hospitality industry.
Accordingly, you should consider hiring a cab or having a designated driver every time you go out to drink with your friends or relatives. Alternatively, you should consider drinking in a residential setting, including your home, where you do not need to drive after a night of drinking. You can also consider limiting your drinking or stopping drinking altogether. Typically, a night of drinking and driving should not jeopardize your UAE dreams, especially as a tourist, an expatriate worker, or businessman.
Hire a Legal Consultant in Dubai Today!
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the major causes of road accidents in the UAE. DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are common charges, especially in the UAE. We specialize in handling cases of drunk driving, speeding and other types of traffic violations. The penalties for violating the UAE’s laws regulating the use of alcohol and driving can be steep and can affect your reputation, work, and even family.
At Al Obaidli & Al Zarooni Advocates & Legal Consultants, we help people who have been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. We provide legal assistance for DUI and DWI cases in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, and all over the United Arab Emirates. We are one of the best legal consultancy firms in Dubai providing legal consultancy for business, family, real estate, and litigation matters. Get in touch with us today!