What to do when you’re arrested in UAE

What to do when you’re arrested in the UAE

  1. Try and stay calm, say as little as possible without getting advice from a lawyer whom you trust, and don’t demand your rights if you don’t know what they are. For relatively minor offences, a polite attitude is more likely to smooth the way for you than being abrasive and arrogant. That’s probably true anywhere, but it seems to be especially the case in the UAE. For more severe offences, your attitude probably won’t make as much difference.

2. Don’t offer bribes

3. Contact a lawyer

4. Contact, , your embassy or consulate. The diplomats won’t do much, if anything, to get you out of jail or come to your defence, but they can sometimes visit you, should be able to supply a list of lawyers, and might help with communication channels to family back home.
In the UAE, guilt or innocence, and punishment, is decided by a judge, not a jury. So the potential for personal bias influencing the outcome is much greater than with a jury system. Finding a lawyer with more wasta is probably useful.
If you have been detained at a police station, you might be released pending a trial if you can deposit your passport with the police, or if a friend will deposit their passport as a guarantee. Note that if you deposit your passport for a friend who has been detained, and they do a runner, then you will be in a sticky situation to say the least. You probably won’t be arrested but you will be stuck in the UAE until you get your passport back, which could take a long time. This has happened occasionally.Most police in Dubai will speak a degree of English but are unlikely to be fluent to the same degree as a native English speaker.

5. Try to avoid admitting to anything, or signing any documents that you don’t understand. At least not until someone you trust has explained them to you.

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