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Criminal CasesThe criminal justice system in UAE

February 4, 2023

UAE Criminal Justice System

The United Arab Emirates is not only among the most stunning nations on earth, but they are also a well-known financial hub, business and travel destination. Because of this, the nation in general and Dubai in particular is a top destination for travelers and expatriate workers from around the globe.

Even though Dubai is a very safe and pleasant city, it can be helpful for foreign visitors to be aware of the UAE’s legal system and know what to do if they ever find themselves the victim of a crime or an intentional mistake committed  during the course of  the  business.

A Summary of the UAE’s Criminal Justice System

The Dubai legal system is governed by the Criminal Procedures Law No. 35 of 1999 in addition to Islamic principles of Sharia Law. Criminal complaints, criminal investigations, trial procedures, verdicts, and appeals are all governed by this law.

The victim/complainant, the accused/defendant, the police, the public prosecutor, and the courts are the main participants in the criminal procedure in the UAE. Criminal trials typically begin when a victim brings an accusation against a defendant to a nearby police station. While the Public Prosecutor brings the accused person’s charges to court, it is the police’s responsibility to investigate any alleged crimes.

The UAE judiciary typically includes three main hierarchy of courts. Before seeking the services of one of the top criminal law firms, it is recommended to learn more about the types and the hierarchy of court systems and the legislative framework:

  • The Court of First Instance: This court hears all criminal cases that have just been filed. One judge sits in the courtroom and renders the decision after hearing the case. But in a felony trial, three judges hear the case and make the decision (which carries harsh penalties). A jury trial is not permitted at this time.
  • The Court of Appeal: Either party may appeal a decision made by the Court of First Instance to the Court of Appeal. Please be aware that the matter is not being heard by the court again. It only needs to be decided whether the decision of the lower court was incorrect.
  • The Court of Cassation: Any person who is not content with the Court of Appeal’s decision may file an additional appeal with the Cassation Court which is subject to certain cases.

Filing a Criminal Complaint in the UAE

UAE law gives you the option to call witnesses in addition to making an oral or written statement to support your claims. Witnesses can help add context or support the validity of your claim. This strengthens the plausibility of your story and significantly aids the subsequent investigation. No matter what, make sure that you have top criminal defense lawyers beside you.

Criminal investigations will make an effort to locate the suspect and verify certain details of your account. The investigation’s course will depend on the specifics of your complaint and the agency that has the authority to look into it. Authorities that might take part in the investigation include some of the following:

  • Police officers who are attorneys
  • Immigration officers
  • Inspectors from the municipal coastguard
  • Border patrol

The authorities will question the suspect and obtain their statement as part of the investigation. Additionally, they are allowed to offer witnesses who can support their version of the story.

General classification of Criminal varies depending on the type of offense:

  • Petty crimes and other minor offenses are known as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor carries fines or a sentence of up to one year in a local jail. Petty theft, driving while intoxicated, minors in possession of alcohol, etc. are some examples of misdemeanors.
  • Contrarily, a felony is a serious offense that carries a sentence of imprisonment of at least one year. Rape, treason, kidnapping, robbery, murder, and drug trafficking are a few examples of felonies.
  • Minor defendants are involved in juvenile offenses. When it comes to minors, more lenient punishment is applied taking into account their age, level of education, and other factors.
  • Capital crimes are punishable by death or life in prison. Capital crimes include, for example, murder and rape. Capital offenses involved the act that made the premeditated act necessary to be committed and assumed the perpetrator had the intent to kill.
  • Minor offenses are only subject to monetary fines as punishment. Petty crimes do not always require filing a lawsuit or a formal trial. Unintentionally harming another person’s livestock is considered a minor crime.
  • Any person accused of a felony carrying a life sentence or the death penalty must be assisted by a reliable attorney. For you to receive the justice you deserve, you will need a criminal defense lawyer who can guide you through the criminal justice system. Because the law cannot aid those victims who need it most without the aid of a legal mind.

Hessa Al Hammadi Advocates & Legal Consultants LLC-SO is one of the biggest law firms in the UAE and we can better understand your case needs as per the circumstances.  We can assist if you or a loved one is being prosecuted on criminal charges in the UAE.

It is recommended that you call the experts to arrange a meeting with our lawyers and advocates. They can assist you with the best criminal defense attorneys in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Visit for more information.

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