Tough fines and jail terms under new code
The maximum fine for a criminal offence is to rise tenfold as part of sweeping changes to UAE penal law. The amount has increased from Dhs100,000 to Dhs1 million. The overhaul was announced in the official gazette after approval by President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and will take effect from November. The maximum penalty for undermining state security during times of war has also been increased from 10 years to the death penalty. Another key change means offenders convicted over minor offences that were punishable by a jail term of less than six months will instead do community service of up to three months. Advocate and legal expert Ali Al Abadi explained that minor offences may include begging, small fights with no assaults, petty thefts and illegal possession of alcohol. “I think community service is a good thing as it would help teach offenders discipline and good manners in addition to them providing services to their communities,” he said.