Drunk Driving in Dubai: Fines, Punishment & Alcohol Laws

Dubai and the rest of the emirates of the UAE have strict rules and regulations in vogue that you should be aware of, regardless of whether you are a resident or tourist. Driving is one aspect that the management of all the emirates is very serious about. For the very same reason we provide these safe driver services to many people. When you are found driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be punished severely, depending on various factors.

How will you be punished when you are caught driving drunk? Read on to know more about the same:

The UAE Traffic Laws are very strict in matters related to driving. In the UAE alone, close to 14% of the road accidents are caused by drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol. Drinking alcohol or using narcotic drugs can damage your judgment while driving and make you lose control. Also, the punishments are quite severe when you are caught driving drunk. Therefore, it is highly recommended to be prudent and drive with responsibility.

Penalty for drunk driving in Dubai

The Federal Law No.21 of the 1995 Concerning Traffic, is the rule that contains all the sections and sub-sections that decide the penalty for drunk driving cases.

  • Article No.10.6 of this law advises all drivers to stay away from driving when they are under the influence of alcoholic beverages, wine, narcotic substance, or anything similar to these.
  • According to Article No. 49.6 of the Traffic Law, when a driver is caught driving (or attempting to drive) when he is under the influence of alcohol, narcotic substances or similar substances, he can be imprisoned and asked to pay a minimum fine of AED 20,000.
  • According to Article No.59.3 of the Traffic Law, a driver driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substances can also be arrested under the charges mentioned in this article. His vehicle can be confiscated for around 60 days and he will earn 23 black points.

These are the upfront rules mentioned by the Traffic Law. However, apart from this, while passing judgment, the Court can also impose certain penalties based on the impact of the drunk driving act of the driver. This list of punishments could include the following:

  • The driver’s driving license can be suspended for a minimum period of 3 months and a maximum period of 2 years.
  • If the driver hasn’t applied for a new license after his suspended license has expired a long time back, his application for a new license in the future can be restrained.

Having an alcohol permit to drink is very important when you are in the UAE. While it may not be mandatory to have one, while you are drinking at public places, it is still considered a good measure to have one.  Having said that, we would also like to reinstate that this alcohol permit doesn’t give you any license to drink and drive. It may only be handy to reduce your punishment by a small extent, when you are caught driving drunk or under the influence of narcotic drugs.

If you are caught driving drunk or if you don’t have this very important alcohol permit, you could be penalized in the following way:

  • According to the 1972 UAE Alcohol Law, you could be sent to jail for a period of 6 months or could be fined around AED 5000, or you could be charged with the fine and imprisonment.

Some important points to note

Here are some important points that you have to remember before consuming alcohol:

  • Always apply for a license to drink alcohol, even in public places. While a license is not required for tourists and Muslim residents of Dubai, it is mandatory for non-Muslim residents in Dubai to own an alcohol permit. They should be at least 21 years of age and have a minimum monthly salary of 3000 Dirhams to apply for the same.
  • When Muslim residents are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substances, the punishments are more severe than what they are for the non-Muslims. The penalty for Muslims includes corporal punishments too.
  • If, due to unavoidable circumstances, you have drunk alcohol at a party, you have to make sure that you don’t drive back yourself. Always hire a cab or let your non-drinker friends drop you back home. More often than not, accidents happen because of the overconfidence of drunk drivers. When you think you can drive perfectly even when you are drunk, you are not only putting others’ lives at risk but your own life as well.
  • Know the duty-free alcohol limit that is allowed into Dubai upon arrival. You must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for carrying alcohol into Dubai. The maximum limit allowed per person is 4 liters of alcohol or 2 cartons of beer (a carton contains 24, 355ml cans).
  • The Traffic Rule was amended in 2017 and has been very strict. Dubai, like the rest of the UAE countries, has zero tolerance towards drunk driving. The punishments are very severe here, and it is also very difficult to get back to your normal driving schedule, once you have been penalized.
  • To decide how drunk you are at the time of driving and decide on the punishments accordingly, the police and legal authorities in Dubai take care of various factors. These factors include your gender, body weight, amount of alcohol in your body, how long you were drinking before you got caught, the quantity of food consumed before drinking and the like.
  • When you get a liquor license in Dubai, it is valid only in the emirate of Dubai. If you want to visit other emirates in the UAE, you should get emirate-specific licenses for the same.

As you can see, the punishment for drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol, narcotic substances and other similar substance is quite severe in Dubai. Imprisonment, a heavy fine, confiscation of vehicle, suspension of license and black points can tarnish your reputation to a large extent. So, it is only natural that you start exercising prudence and judgment while consuming alcohol before you drive in Dubai. In conclusion the easiest way to avoid the above to to hire a safe driver to drive you back home.

NOTE: This article is for reference only by Comfort Drive. Please check with the official website for updated details.

Category: Safe Driving
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