Decoding Dubai's Alcohol Laws: Public Consumption and Intoxication Prohibited

Penalties for alcohol-related violations are outlined in several laws, including the Dubai Alcohol Law, Federal Traffic Law, and other relevant legislation

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on April 23, 2024, 08:55:07


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In Dubai, the rules and regulations governing alcohol consumption are primarily based on Islamic law (Sharia) and are enforced through various pieces of legislation and regulations.

Here's a detailed explanation of the alcohol rules in Dubai along with the applicable legislation.

Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 years. Although not explicitly stated in any single law, this age requirement is generally understood and enforced based on Islamic principles and societal norms.

Additionally, the Dubai Alcohol Law indirectly reinforces the minimum drinking age by requiring individuals to be of legal age to obtain a personal alcohol licence.

Licensing Requirements

Personal Alcohol Licence: Non-Muslim residents must obtain a personal alcohol licence issued by the Dubai Police to purchase and consume alcohol for personal use.
Venue Licences: Establishments serving alcohol, such as hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, must obtain licences from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The primary legislation governing alcohol licensing in Dubai is the Dubai Alcohol Law (Law No. 16 of 1972), which sets out the requirements and procedures for obtaining alcohol licenses for individuals and establishments.

Alcohol Purchase and Consumption

Licensed Venues: Alcohol can only be purchased and consumed in licensed venues authorised by the DTCM.
Retailers: Only licensed retailers, such as liquor stores or designated sections within supermarkets, can sell alcohol to individuals with a valid personal alcohol licence.

The Dubai Alcohol Law governs the sale and consumption of alcohol, specifying that it should only occur in licensed establishments or by licensed individuals for personal use.

Public Consumption and Intoxication

Public Consumption: Drinking alcohol in public places, other than licensed venues, is strictly prohibited.
Public Intoxication: Public intoxication or disorderly behaviour due to alcohol consumption is also prohibited and can result in fines, imprisonment, or deportation for expatriates.

These prohibitions are primarily based on Islamic principles and societal norms, with enforcement carried out through various laws and regulations, including the Dubai Alcohol Law and other legislation related to public order and decency.

Drinking and Driving

Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Dubai and is subject to severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, license suspension or revocation, and deportation for expatriates.

The UAE Federal Traffic Law (Federal Law No. 21 of 1995) and its amendments govern traffic offenses, including DUI, with penalties specified for violators.

Penalties for Violations

Fines: Violations of alcohol-related laws can result in fines imposed by the relevant authorities, ranging from moderate to substantial amounts.
Imprisonment: In addition to fines, individuals found guilty of violating alcohol-related laws may face imprisonment, especially in cases involving DUI or public intoxication.
Deportation: Expatriates who violate alcohol-related laws may face deportation in addition to other penalties.
Penalties for alcohol-related violations are outlined in various laws and regulations, including the Dubai Alcohol Law, Federal Traffic Law and other relevant legislation.

Legal Representation

Individuals facing charges or legal issues related to alcohol consumption should seek legal representation from experienced lawyers familiar with Dubai's laws and regulations.

In summary, the regulations concerning alcohol in Dubai are rooted in Islamic principles. Adherence to these regulations is crucial to prevent legal repercussions, and individuals should consult legal counsel if confronted with charges or legal matters regarding alcohol consumption.

Legal experts can provide guidance, representation in court proceedings, and assistance in navigating the legal system to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

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