The UAE Penal Code defines theft as taking of property belonging to a person other than the criminal and it shall be subject to the provisions of the UAE Penal Code.

The UAE Penal Code is the Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021 On the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law. Generally, According to Article 443 of the UAE Penal Code, any person who commits a crime of theft will be punishable with imprisonment of at least 6 months or fine, unless it is being punished under other provisions for theft.

According to Article 441 of the UAE Penal Code, if theft is committed at night time or by a person carrying a weapon, then the accused will be punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than 2 years and not exceeding 7 years.

Article 442 of the UAE Penal Code further states that if 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 war against wounded persons.
  8. On a property owned to any of the entities mentioned in Article 5 of the UAE Penal Code.
  9. On a livestock or any beast of burden,

Then such a person will be punishable with imprisonment for at least 1 year. Any attempt to commit a misdemeanor theft shall be punishable by one half of the penalty prescribed for the completed crime under Article 445 of the UAE Penal Code.

Criminal Procedure for Theft

The procedure of crime has been set out in the Criminal Procedural Law of the UAE, which is the Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 Concerning the Criminal Procedural Law. The Criminal Procedural Law applies to procedures regarding the crimes which are punishable under the UAE Penal Code (Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law.

The Criminal Procedure Code of the UAE provides that a criminal action may not be lodged except upon a written or verbal complaint of the victim or his representative in case of theft, where the victim is a spouse of the perpetrator and these objects are not seized judicially or administratively or encumbered by a lien in favor of another person.

Article 16 of the Criminal Procedure Code further states that the party submitting the complaint may relinquish his complaint at any time prior to reaching a final decision on the complaint and the criminal action will be foreclosed by relinquishment. In case there are several victims, relinquishment will not be effective unless done by all those who have submitted the complaint.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.