What to Do if You Break the Law in Dubai

Westerners and those unfamiliar with Dubai can often feel daunted by some of the laws that are upheld in the UAE. While it’s true that holidaymakers looking for a booze-fuelled riotous time should look elsewhere, there’s no reason for the rest of us not to enjoy everything this magical country has to offer.

For the most part, Dubai law follows similar lines to most Western laws. If you use your common sense when it comes to driving and not harassing others, then you should get by just fine. As Dubai is Muslim state that heavily adheres to its religious values however, there are a handful of laws that can catch out unwitting visitors.

Be Careful With Drinking

Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of alcohol is no longer illegal in Dubai. While it’s true that drinkers used to be confined to licensed hotel bars, the law has softened over the years, and you’ll find many restaurants serving alcoholic drinks. 

Be aware though, that drinking is not a societal norm in Dubai, and overly rambunctious behaviour could easily see you get into trouble. One or two drinks are fine, but if you’re liable to get a little too loose after a few, you risk breaking the law unintentionally.

Keep Your Dancing Shoes at Home

To that end, dancing in public is actually a criminal offence and is deemed provocative. Luckily, loud music is also banned in public, so you’re unlikely to encounter your favourite tune blaring out.

Keep the Bird in the Cage

Offensive gestures are also illegal in Dubai. Ensure that you contain any road rage you might feel towards even the most erratic drivers. Showing your frustration with an offensive gesture could see you reported to the police.

Relationship Advice

Remember that Dubai is a state of strong religious values. While married couples can get away with holding hands in public, kissing and cuddling up together can actually be punishable by law.

Dubai has recently changed the law to allow non-married couples to live together, but displays of public affection are still very much frowned upon. If you’re honeymooning, or taking a holiday with a date, you might want to consider this before you book your hotels and flights.

What to Do if You Do Break the Law

You’ll likely see some laws broken on a daily basis in much the same way we’re used to in the West. Driving laws in particular, such as driving while using a mobile phone, still tend to happen without anything happening in the main. 

Dubai can be tougher on some laws than others though, and once arrested, you’ll be well served to seek out the help of a specialist in Dubai law. 

Experts such as Hamdan Al Shamsi Law Firm that are actually based in Dubai, are best placed to help you out if you find yourself in a tricky legal situation. 

UAE law is very different to Western law and requires lawyers well-versed in its intricacies and customs.

The last thing you need is to make any misguided transgression worse by hiring somebody who is just as unfamiliar with the Dubai legal landscape as you are. 

Familiarise Yourself and Relax

Dubai is a beautiful place to visit, and if you take a moment to familiarise yourself with the laws and customs, you’ll find it one of the best destinations around.


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