What Are The Legal Consequences Of Driving Another Person’s Car Without Their Consent?

Driving a vehicle without the permission of the owner can land the driver in trouble, in the UAE. As per Article 447 of Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021, the Crimes and Penalties Law, a person found driving a motorbike or a car belonging to someone else without approval may be put behind bars for up to a year or fined for an amount of almost AED 10,000.

So what can I do if I urgently need to borrow my friend’s car?

Usually, it won’t be a problem if the car that you are driving belongs to your family member, such as your husband or your parents. But if you need someone else’s car for a while, for example a friend or a distant relative, it is better to have permission to drive the car from the owner at all times. Technically, it will not pose a problem as long as you fulfill the requirements for driving a vehicle in the country, but if you are stopped anywhere by the traffic police and asked to show the documents of the vehicle, you might be questioned about the ownership of the vehicle. If you are found driving without permission from the actual owner, the police will have the power to confiscate the car under Article 60(3) of Federal Law No. 21 of 1995. To be on the safe side, it is better to have the permission, more if it is in written form, so that you can get out of such a situation easily.

Obviously, you will need a valid driver’s license to drive a car in the UAE. Under Article 51 of the Federal Law No. 21 of 1995 On Traffic, a person could be sentenced to three months of imprisonment or liable to a fine of at least AED 5000 if it is found that he is driving without a valid driver’s license. The punishment is the same if the person is driving a vehicle on a license that does not permit him to drive that type of vehicle.

Driving a car without insurance is illegal in the UAE, therefore make sure that the car that you are driving is insured. You may also need to check other details, such as if the number plates of the car are valid and clearly visible, the car does not cause pollution, or if it is unfit for driving etc. All these instances attract unnecessary fines that can be avoided through due care and caution.

In case you are the one lending your car to someone else, you need to confirm that the person you are lending to has a valid driver’s license for the UAE, and will not land you in any kind of trouble, such as through accidents or reckless driving.

Getting a license in the UAE

If you are a resident in the UAE, you can get a driver’s license by attending the driving classes and passing all the tests. These are conducted by authorized driving institutes in each emirate. You can also drive a car on the license issued from your home country, provided it falls within the list of approved countries. Having an international driver’s license will help if you are a tourist or simply a visitor in the UAE.

The UAE is strict in terms of following rules and regulations; therefore, it is better to always know the law when indulging in something you are not quite sure of.

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