What Legal Consequences Are Associated with Assault in the UAE? Understanding Violent Crimes

criminal law


November 27, 2023



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Under the UAE laws, assault is classified as a criminal offence, carrying penalties, all guided by the UAE Penal Code under Federal Law No. 31/2021.

Assault Under the UAE Penal Code

According to the UAE Penal Code, assault encompasses actions involving physical force, violence, threats, or intimidation to compel someone to act a certain way or refrain from doing something. The motivation behind the assault and the extent of harm caused to the victim play a pivotal role in assessing the seriousness of the crime.

The UAE Penal Code classifies assault into various forms, considering factors like premeditation, the use of weapons, assaults under the influence, and those causing significant injuries or loss of life.

Assault Categories and Associated Penalties

  • Assault Under the Influence: This pertains to instances where an assault occurs while the offender is under the influence of substances like drugs or alcohol, aggravating the situation. This can result in imprisonment for up to ten years.
  • Assault Involving Weapons: When a weapon is used during an assault, and there is evidence of planning, the offender could face imprisonment and fines.
  • Domestic Assault: Assault related to issues such as adultery has penalties that depend on the specific circumstances and may involve detention or imprisonment.
  • Assault Causing Permanent Injury: If an assault leads to enduring injuries for the victim, the severity of the penalty hinges on the extent of the harm and the intention behind the assault. This could result in imprisonment and fines.
  • Assault on Communication and Public Utilities: Attacking communication systems or public transportation with harmful intent is considered a grave offence, carrying the potential for life imprisonment.
  • Penalties for Physical Assault: According to Federal Law No. 31/2021, the UAE Penal Code stipulates that physical assault can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.

The severity of the punishment depends on the extent of harm caused to the victim and the intent of the perpetrator. In cases where the assault leads to permanent disability or death, the penalties can escalate to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Categorizing Crimes

The UAE legal system classifies crimes into three tiers based on their gravity:

  • Infractions: Minor violations can lead to detention for up to 10 days or fines up to AED 10,000.
  • Misdemeanours: Lesser offences could result in imprisonment for up to 3 years or fines exceeding AED 10,000.
  • Felonies: The most serious offences invite stringent punishments, including the death penalty, life imprisonment, or temporary imprisonment. Crimes like murder, rape, and drug trafficking fall within this bracket.

Premeditated Murder

Deliberately planning a murder in advance is considered premeditated murder. The penalty can involve life imprisonment. However, if the murder is premeditated and executed with careful planning, it might lead to the death penalty.

  • Aggravating Factors for Premeditated Murder: Specific circumstances can escalate the penalty for premeditated murder. These include meticulous planning, links to other crimes, targeting important figures, or using hazardous materials. If the victim's family agrees, the punishment might be reduced.
  • Unintentional Killing: If an individual unintentionally causes someone's death while causing harm, the penalty can be imprisonment for up to ten years. Factors like premeditation or complicated situations can result in more severe penalties.

In summary, The UAE Penal Code outlines distinct forms of assault and provides a structured system for categorizing them based on the severity of the offence and additional aggravating factors.

The offence of assault may attract penalties spanning from imprisonment to life sentences or even the death penalty based on specific circumstances.

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