Know the law: Drunk driving will land you behind bars, hefty fines


Anyone caught driving under the influence will face "imprisonment and/or a minimum fine of AED 25,000".

That's according to the UAE law, which forbids motorists from going behind the wheel while intoxicated.  

Speaking exclusively to ARN News, two lawyers reiterated the UAE's zero-tolerance under Traffic Laws No. 21 of 1995.

Ludmila Yamalova from HPL Yamalova and Plewka highlighted that "drivers are to abstain from driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substance" according to Article No 10.6.

Ali Al Zarooni of Horizons & Co law firm added that the actual fine will depend on the severity of the consequences of the offence.

Yamalova added that the law on driving under the influence is distinct from the UAE Crime and Punishment Law, which came into effect in 2022.

This law (in particular, Article 365, Section 3), she explained, effectively penalises being drunk in public.

"Drinking alcohol either in a public place or in an unauthorised place in the UAE is against the law. As is being drunk or intoxicated in a public place, or causing trouble, annoyance or disturbance to a third party, while intoxicated."

The penalty is a jail sentence for a maximum of six months and/or a fine of up to AED 100,000.

Meanwhile, Al Zarooni highlighted that an article has been amended in the latest update.

"It's become allowed to drink alcohol for an individual above the age of 21," he says. "They can't drink anywhere, but they can buy it and drink it in their house or in places that serve alcohol."

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