Drinking While Driving In The UAE

The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol. Even though the consumption and sale of alcohol is legalized in authorized and enclosed spaces, one must be extremely careful of the consequences resulting from consumption of alcohol in a public place.


If I am caught drunk driving in the UAE, what is the punishment that I may be subject to?

If you are caught drunk driving by the police in the UAE, you will be put behind bars and may also be ordered to pay a fine of almost AED 25,000. This punishment is as per Article 49(6) of Federal Law No. 21 of 1995 i.e. the Traffic Law, and it not only punishes driving under the influence of alcohol but also after consuming narcotic or other anesthetic substances which have the effect of intoxication. The police in such a case will have the power to arrest you, under Article 59(3) of the Traffic Law.

The punishment may be increased if you injured a person while driving, or worse, caused someone’s death.


What happens to my license if I get caught drunk driving?

As per Ministerial Decision No. 178 of 2017, commonly known as the Black Points Law, driving under the influence of alcohol may also lead to suspension of your license, and it will give you 23 black points, plus your vehicle may be seized for a period of 60 days. The fine to be paid will be decided by the judge.


Will I be liable to punishment even if I am not heavily intoxicated but have alcohol in my blood stream?

Among the few obligations of a person driving a vehicle, one of them is that the person driving must not be under the influence of alcohol or other narcotic substances. This is in consonance with Article 10(6) of the Traffic Law, and consequently, a person should abstain from driving while under the state of intoxication. So, even if you have alcohol in your blood stream and the same is detected by the police, you will be subject to the prescribed punishment.


What is the punishment for drinking alcohol in an unauthorized place in the UAE?

Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, that is the Federal Penal Code, under Article 363(3), holds guilty a person who drinks alcohol in an unauthorized space. The punishment in this case will be jail sentence for almost 6 months, and/or a fine which may reach AED 100,000. The punishment will be levied even if a person is found to be intoxicated in a public place, or is the reason of nuisance or public disturbance due to the effects of alcohol.


Driving under the effect of alcohol should be completely avoided in the UAE. Moreover, intoxication is not limited to alcohol; people should refrain from driving after taking narcotic substances such as drugs. The traffic rules of the country are kept strict in order to protect everyone from accidents and mishaps.

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