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What you should know about UAE Drunk Driving Penalties
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What you should know about UAE Drunk Driving Penalties

You're driving through the streets of Dubai, having a great time with your friends. Suddenly, the police pull you over for a traffic violation. After running your details through their computer, they tell you that your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is above the legal limit, and they charge you with drunk driving.

What do you do? If this has happened to you or someone else reading this article, don't worry! We'll go through everything in detail below so that by the end, you'll know what to expect if this ever happens to one of your family members or friends who are visiting from abroad.

Jailed and deported

If you're caught driving under the influence of alcohol in the United Arab Emirates, you could be jailed and deported.

The country has some of the strictest drunk-driving laws in the world—the penalty for drinking and driving can include jail time, fines and even deportation.

If you're caught driving under the influence of alcohol in a car or boat, you'll face imprisonment of up to six months, a fine between Dh10,000 (US$2,700) and Dh20,000 (US$5100) plus court costs or both. You may also have your vehicle impounded for up to three months with no refund on your bond if it has yet to be paid off at that point.

Zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving.

Zero tolerance means that you will be charged with a DUI if caught driving under the influence. You will face jail time and deportation from the UAE.

For instance, if your blood alcohol level is 0.04 or higher, you will be required to pay a fine, go through drug rehabilitation treatment, and attend classes related to safe driving practices.

The penalties imposed on motorists caught drunk driving in the UAE are severe.

If caught driving under the influence of alcohol in the UAE, you can expect to pay the price. And what may seem like a small amount of money in your home country might be very large compared to local salaries.

Penalties include:

  • Jail time and fines - A fine of up to AED 50,000 (approximately USD 13,000) and jail time (up to 6 months). Your personal driver’s license will also be revoked for 3 years after serving any jail sentence imposed by a court and being deported from the country.
  • Suspension or revocation of driving licenses - If you have an international license that allows you to drive within the UAE but not outside it, then there is no problem with this restriction on your life. However, suppose you hold an Emirati license. In that case, this punishment could mean losing your livelihood since it takes around 1 year before another permit is issued again after expiration!

Police use a breath test to determine if drivers are over the blood-alcohol threshold (BAC).

When drunk driving, the police will use a breath test to determine if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit. BAC is the amount of alcohol in your blood. It’s measured in milligrams per 100 milliliters (mL) of blood. The UAE law says you exceed the legal limit when your BAC reaches 50mg/100mL or above.

BAC rises with age and weight, so men have higher BAC levels than women at any given age or weight.

Drink drivers in the UAE face a jail term of between three and six months.

Drink drivers in the UAE face a jail term of between three and six months. The severity of the sentence depends on how drunk you are and whether you have been driving before and caused any injuries or damage to property.

In some cases, however, if your blood alcohol content is below 0.50 percent (which is still more than twice the legal limit in most countries), you may be able to avoid jail time altogether by paying a fine instead.

Repeat offenders or drivers whose BAC is well over the limit may have their jail time extended.

If you are a repeat offender or your BAC is well over the limit, you may face an even harsher penalty than that outlined above. Repeat offenders face higher prison sentences and can expect to spend at least six months in jail.

BAC levels of .20% or higher are grounds for increased penalties because these drivers pose a greater risk to themselves and others on the road. If you're caught with this much alcohol while driving in the UAE, it's important to know that your sentence could be up to two years in prison! In addition, repeat offenders may have their licenses revoked indefinitely or permanently.

Drink-driving offenders will also have their cars impounded for 60 days.

If you are found guilty of drunk driving in the UAE, your car will be impounded for 60 days. This means that the police will seize your vehicle and take it to a police compound or station, depending on where you were caught.

Suppose you have been arrested for drunk driving. In that case, the authorities will take your car into custody until your trial is over. You cannot start driving again until all fines have been paid and all legal proceedings are finished.

Reckless drivers whose BAC is above 0.08 percent will also have their license suspended for one year after serving their jail term.

The penalties for reckless driving in the UAE include a fine, license suspension and jail time. If caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, it can result in an even more severe punishment: fines, jail time and deportation.

As mentioned above, if your BAC is higher than 0.08 percent (80 mg/100 ml), you may face additional charges, including reckless driving or even manslaughter, depending on your case's circumstances.

All motorists charged with DUIs could face deportation once they've served their jail term.

Deportation is a possibility for alcohol-related DUIs in the UAE. However, it's not the only possible penalty you may face if you're convicted of drunk driving. 

Others include:

  • Jail time
  • A fine
  • A ban on driving in the UAE or other countries

If you do have to go through deportation proceedings, be sure to hire a good lawyer who can help reduce your sentence if at all possible.

Don't drink and drive!

Drinking and driving are dangerous and illegal and could also cost you a lot of money. Plus, it can put you at risk of serious consequences, including jail time, deportation, loss of professional license and high fines.

We are here to help you understand the consequences of drinking and driving so that you never have to face them yourself.


If we were, to sum up, what you should know about driving under the influence of alcohol in the UAE, would be to check your level of intoxication before getting behind the wheel. If you're going out for a night on the town, make sure you have a designated Safe driver or take public transportation home. Drunk driving is dangerous and illegal and can have serious consequences if caught doing so!


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