المقالات القانونية / القانون الجنائي


What you need to know? Theft Punishments & Fines in the UAE

criminal law

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December 28, 2021


Theft is said to occur when the intentional misappropriation of property happens. ‘Theft’ is defined under Article 435 of the Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 On the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Penal Code) as “taking of property belonging to a person other than the criminal and it shall be subject to the provisions of the following Articles”.

Provisions of The Penal Code Governing Theft

Article 441

A jail sentence for a period not less than two (2) years and not exceeding seven (7) years shall be imposed if the theft is committed in any of the following two cases:

  1. At night-time.

  2. By a person carrying a weapon.

Temporary imprisonment for a period not less than five (5) years and not exceeding seven (7) years shall be imposed if the theft is committed by any of the employees in the place of employment or to inflict damage to his employer.

Article 442

A jail sentence for a period not less than one (1) year shall be imposed if the theft is committed in any of the following cases:

  1. In a place of worship.

  2. In an inhabited place or used for dwelling or in any of its appurtenances.

  3. In any means of transport or at a station, port, or airport.

  4. By climbing or breaking in, from outside, or by the use of false keys or genuine keys without the approval of the owner.

  5. By a person assuming a public or false capacity or pretending to perform or assume a public service.

  6. By two or more persons.

  7. During the war, against wounded persons.

  8. On a property owned by any of the entities mentioned in Article 5.

  9. On livestock or any beast of burden.

Punishment for Theft

Depending on the classification of the theft, the crime may be considered either a ‘misdemeanour’ or a ‘felony’. According to Article 443 of the UAE Penal Code, if a person commits a crime of theft which does not involve any of the conditions set out in the previous provisions of the chapter related to theft, he would be liable to imprisonment between 6 months to 3 years or fine.

In the instance the crime is considered a felony, then the following punishments could apply based on the intensity of the felony. For example, theft committed during the night and with the use of weapons can warrant an imprisonment sentence of seven years. Similarly, theft committed by an employee during the term of this employment can warrant a sentence of five to seven years of imprisonment (Article 441).

The intention of the person while committing the crime is particularly taken into account by the Courts when deciding the intensity of the punishment. That said, the motive is often immaterial while establishing the crime, but it could be taken into consideration subject to the discretion of the court while deciding the punishment.

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