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Criminal Law

About Criminal Law

“Crime” is an illegal act committed by any natural or legal person which is punishable under the criminal or penal code of the said country or jurisdiction. In the United Arab Emirates, a crime is defined under the Federal Penal Code and whose provisions are derived mostly from the principles of Shariah. Crimes are of varied types as in modern times it is not only restricted to physical harm but it covers monetary, moral, and physical damage to any human being or an organization. Therefore, it is vital for any Criminal Lawyer in UAE to comprehend the nature of the crime in order to offer the best suitable advice to their client. 

Our team of Best Criminal Lawyers in Abu Dhabi are committed solely to criminal matters within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and other respective Emirates of UAE. Utilizing the most recent techniques, logical procedures, research information bases, and examination, we are ready for a prompt and compelling reaction to any criminal emergency with any client.

Criminal Law in Abu Dhabi

Federal Law No. (35) of 1992 and its amendments determine the procedures for criminal cases in the United Arab Emirates. It consists of a set of rules describing the methodology and procedures for criminal investigation, trial of accused persons, issuing sentence, conditions for appeal to higher courts and execution of sentence.

According to Article 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedures and its amendments, the Public Prosecution has exclusive jurisdiction to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused, and it also has the authority to pursue the case until a final ruling is issued. The Public Prosecution is considered part of the judicial system, and it assumes the authority to investigate and impose fees, in addition to referring the accused to the competent court if an involvement in the crime is proven.

The Public Prosecution also handles cases related to the extradition of criminals and follows them up in accordance with international agreements, in cooperation with the International Criminal Police. In some cases, as stated in Article (10) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the victim, or his legal representative, shall file a written or oral complaint to institute a criminal case. The complaint is inadmissible after three months from the day on which the victim learned of the crime and its perpetrator, unless otherwise provided by law.

These cases include:

  • Theft, breach of trust, and concealment of proceeds there from, if the victim is the perpetrator’s husband, one of his ascendants, or descendants and the proceeds are not confiscated judicially or administratively, or covered by a lien in favor of another person.
  • Refusing to surrender a minor, or taking the minor away from the guardian’s authority over the minor.
  • Insult, slander, and other crimes specified by law.

The expiration of criminal cases

The criminal case shall expire if the victim waives his complaint. The waiver shall be issued by all those who submitted the complaint in the event of multiple victims. However, if there are several defendants in the criminal case, the waiver of the complaint against one of them applies to the rest as well. If the victim dies after filing the complaint, the right to waive shall pass to his heirs.

The criminal case also expires with the death of the accused, the issuance of a final judgment, the waiver of the case by those who are legally entitled to do so, the issuance of a general amnesty, or the termination of the law that punishes such acts. We also prosecute criminal cases after twenty years for felonies punishable by the death penalty, after 10 years for all other felonies, three years for misdemeanors, and one year for infractions.

The rights and duties of individuals in accordance with the law The UAE judicial system is characterized by justice, integrity, and respect for the dignity of all individuals, regardless of nationality, sect, or religion. Everyone is equal before the law. The Code of Criminal Procedures assumes that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, Based on this rule, several things are taken into account in applying criminal procedures that deal with criminal cases, including:

  • No criminal penalty may be imposed on any person until his guilt being proven in accordance with the law.
  • No one may be arrested, searched, detained or imprisoned except in accordance with the circumstances and conditions stipulated in the law.
  • The accused shall not be imprisoned or detained except in places designated for this purpose, and for the period specified in the order issued by the competent authority.

Members of the public authority may not enter any residence except in the cases stipulated in the law, or in the event of a request for help from within, or if there is a threat to the safety of individuals or property. Anyone who learns of the occurrence of a crime that the Public Prosecution can file a case against, without a complaint or request, shall inform the Public Prosecution or a judicial officer about it. Anyone who witnessed the felon committing a felony or misdemeanor shall hand him over to the nearest public authority personnel, without the need for an arrest warrant.

The accused may request the court to order compensation for the damage resulting from the leveling of a malicious accusation by the victim or the author of the communication. The criminal court shall, based on the request of the accused, order the person who has been convicted of perjury or false communication to pay compensation to the accused.

The right to appoint an attorney for criminal cases

Anyone charged with a felony punishable by death or life imprisonment shall have an attorney to defend the same at the trial stage. If the accused does not appoint an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney there for, while the state shall bear the attorney`s expenses in accordance with the law. The accused in a felony punishable by temporary imprisonment may also request the court to appoint an attorney therefor to defend the accused, after verifying that the same is unable to appoint an attorney.

Investigation and arrest of the convicted

Upon his arrival at the scene of a crime in flagrante delicto, the judicial officer has the right to prevent those present there from leaving the place or moving away from it, until the same finishes preparing the report. The judicial officer may also immediately summon someone to obtain clarifications about the incident. The judicial officer may order the arrest of the present convicted person at the crime scene when there is sufficient evidence that the convicted committed the crime in accordance with Article 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

If the convicted person is not present, the judicial officer shall issue an order to arrest him and bring him in, and this shall be mentioned in the minutes. A member of the public authority shall carry out the arrest and search warrant. The judicial officer shall hear the statements of the accused immediately after his arrest. If the accused does not provide evidence of his innocence, the same is sent to the competent Public Prosecution within 48 hours, and the Public Prosecution shall interrogate the accused person within 24 hours, then order his arrest, or his release.

Inspection of individuals and homes

The judicial officer may search the accused in cases that permit his arrest in accordance with the law. The accused shall be subject to search for what is on his body, clothes, or belongings of things or traces related to the crime, or required for investigation therein. If the accused is a female, the search shall be conducted by a female appointed by the judicial control officer, after she has taken an oath to perform her duties honestly. The search witnesses shall also be female.

The judicial officer may not search the house of the accused without a written permission from the Public Prosecution, unless the crime was committed in flagrante delicto, with strong indications that the accused is hiding things or papers in his house that may reveal the truth. The convicted person`s home shall be subject to search, and items and papers shall be seized as prescribed by law.

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