It is not commonplace to hear the word “theft,” yet most of us know what it means. A person commits theft when they take another person’s personal property without that person’s knowledge or consent to use it for their benefit. Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, which established the UAE penal code and its modifications (the “UAE penal code”) under UAE law, defines theft as a legal word. According to sections 399 and 405 of the UAE penal code, theft is defined as “willful misappropriation of property with the intention to own property.”.
UAE maintains a zero-tolerance attitude for offenses involving theft, just like it does for all other crimes. The harshness of the punishment, however, varies according to how serious the offense was. The UAE’s laws clearly distinguish between theft and the simple act of stealing, just like those of the majority of other nations. Only how the crimes are committed determines whether they are considered theft. In the United Arab Emirates, the term “theft” is more akin to “robbery,” as it combines the accusation of stealing with the use of force or coercion to force the victims out of their homes or other location. Furthermore, the punishment for theft is frequently harsher than the punishment for stealing since it frequently calls for the use of compulsion or abuse.
Laws Regulating Theft and Punishments
Anything that can be taken into custody without the owner’s consent is considered theft under Federal Law No. 3 of 1987. Therefore, burglarizing residences, embezzling funds, shoplifting, and online thefts are all considered forms of theft. The theft committed inside the UAE is covered by the rules of the UAE Penal Code Federal Law Number Three of 1987.
Any theft offender who violates one of the following conditions faces a life sentence in prison:
- theft committed at night.
- theft committed by more than one person.
- The perpetrators—one or more—are armed.
- The technique used to commit theft, such as breaking in, making fake 5-keys, passing for someone else, scaling a fence, etc.
- Under duress, threat, or physical force, a crime is committed.
Any person who commits a theft crime on a public road or while using a mode of transportation (land, air, or sea) faces a life sentence or a shorter term of imprisonment.
A minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of seven years may be imposed on an employee who steals on company property or to the detriment of his employer.
Theft offenses committed at places of worship, transit hubs, while posing as a public official, etc., can result in a sentence of at least one year in prison.
Penalties for leaving a restaurant or hotel without paying the bill include a maximum 6-month jail sentence and/or a Dh 5,000 fine.
A brief jail sentence may be imposed on anyone who signs a deed or obtains a signature on it under duress or coercion.
A prison sentence of no more than two years or a fine of no more than Dh 20,000 can be imposed on someone who wilfully misappropriated, with the intent to own, a lost object owned by someone else or if the property was in his control due to an accident or other unavoidable circumstance.
Other Punishments for Theft Crimes
Depending on whether it was classed as a “simple theft” or an “aggravated theft,” the theft charge in the UAE is either classified as a “misdemeanor” or a “felony.” Simple theft is punishable by up to a year in jail or a monetary punishment. Aggravated theft, on the other hand, may result in a harsher prison term of two to fifteen years.
- stealing with dangerous weapons and causing harm to others can result in a fifteen-year prison sentence
- A term of seven years or more in jail may be imposed for theft committed at night and with a weapon;
- Theft committed by an employee while they are still employed is punishable by a five- to seven-year prison term (Article 388),
- if theft is committed with high seriousness, a life sentence may be given (Article 389).
Another crucial factor is criminal intent. The Courts give great consideration to the offender’s purpose when determining the severity of the sentence. The court may, at its discretion, consider the purpose in determining the sentence even though it is frequently irrelevant in determining the crime. To put it another way, committing theft as a result of a dire situation or necessity will not absolve a person of the crime. Even if there isn’t a clear motivation, they will be held accountable.
You need skilled criminal Lawyers in Dubai, UAE if you have been the victim of theft or have been charged with the crime. In all UAE courts, we provide a smart and forceful defense representation. Even if the property is their own, stealing checks, deeds, and other forms of security against debt are still considered theft. The law against theft also applies to circumstances like temporary object custody. A sealed envelope belonging to another person or a key sent to check on homes are examples of items in temporary custody. Since the aforementioned items are very briefly in your control, taking them from the envelope or any other items from the residence is considered theft.
Given the broad application of this regulation, things can become a little perplexing. For such straightforward matters, you can also interact with our attorneys via video or telephone consultation.