As a visitor to Abu Dhabi or someone living in the city or the Emirate for work on a visa, running into trouble with the law is probably not something, you have planned to occur. However, this is not an uncommon issue for many visitors that are not familiar with Sharia Law or local legal issues.
There are many common Western practices that are illegal under Sharia law. These will include the felony and misdemeanor types of crimes similar to those in other countries including rape, murder, drug trafficking, theft and other types of serious crimes. Most visitors are not involved in these types of issues or are aware of the severity of the charges if they are arrested and will immediately contact a lawyer.
The legal issues that are most likely to involve visitors or new residents of Abu Dhabi include public displays of affection, public intoxication, specific types of revealing clothing, same sex relationships and even advocating a faith or providing religious materials that are non-Islamic in nature can be a legal offense.
Contacting an Attorney
Visitors or foreign visa holders living in Abu Dhabi will find that the laws are often different in hotels and resort areas, with greater allowances for typical “Western” behaviors.
However, if you are arrested with these types of crimes, you also have the right to contact a lawyer. Choosing an attorney from a top firm in the Emirate that provides criminal law defense is an essential choice. Look for law firms that are established and have extensive experience and the ability to represent you in the Sharia court system.
In addition, the lawyer will need to either speak Arabic or arrange for a translator for your case. The attorney of record for your case will also need to be registered with the Ministry of Justice and notify the Attorney General that they are acting as your legal representative.
At STA Law Firm, we have the experience and expertise to represent both UAE nationals as well as visitors or visa holders from other countries in criminal cases. To learn more, give the hotline a call at +97 50 27 28 29 1.