Skip to main content


An arrest warrant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a legal document issued by a competent authority, typically a judge, that authorizes the apprehension and detention of an individual suspected of committing a crime. An arrest warrant is issued for detention of a person by a competent authority who committed a criminal offence under Article 45-46 of the Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 concerning the Penal Code or who fails to oblige with the final judgment of execution court under Federal Law Number 11 of 1992 regarding the Civil Procedure Code.

This warrant empowers law enforcement agencies to take the individual into custody to ensure their appearance in court to face charges. The process of obtaining and executing arrest warrants in the UAE follows a specific set of rules and regulations to protect the rights of both the accused and the state. An arrest warrant under criminal law is issued if the public prosecutor has sufficient evidence of his guilt, whereas, under the Civil Law, the arrest warrant can be issued by a judge of Execution court, should the debtor fails to submit the claim which is more than AED 10,000.

To obtain an arrest warrant, the UAE authorities must provide substantial evidence to the judge that establishes probable cause for the individual’s involvement in a criminal offense. This requirement is essential to prevent arbitrary arrests and safeguard individual liberties. The evidence can include witness testimonies, physical evidence, documentation, or any other relevant information that supports the allegations against the suspect.

In the UAE, arrest warrants can be issued for a range of offenses, from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies. The legal system operates under the principle of Sharia law for personal status matters and federal law for criminal cases, ensuring that the legal process adheres to Islamic principles and universal standards of justice. Once an arrest warrant is granted, law enforcement agencies have the authority to execute it. They can apprehend the suspect at any location, including private residences, workplaces, or public areas.

UAE law enforcement is generally well-trained and equipped, and they must adhere to the principles of proportionality and necessity during the apprehension process. After the arrest, the individual is typically brought to a police station for initial processing, where their identity and the details of the arrest are recorded. They are informed of their rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation.

If the individual is a foreign national, their country’s embassy or consulate is also notified of their detention, ensuring consular rights are upheld. In the UAE, the arrestee is brought before a judge within a specific timeframe, usually within 24 hours, for a hearing known as a “first appearance” or “initial appearance.” During this hearing, the charges against the individual are formally presented, and the judge assesses whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. If the judge finds probable cause and decides to continue the legal proceedings, the suspect may be remanded in custody pending trial or, in some cases, granted bail or released on their recognizance.

The UAE law allows for pretrial detention to ensure the suspect’s presence during the trial and to prevent flight risk or interference with the investigation. Throughout the legal process, the accused has the right to legal representation and the right to challenge the evidence presented against them. The UAE legal system strives to ensure a fair trial, and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is important to note that the UAE has a strict legal framework, and certain behaviors that may be considered minor offenses in other countries could be treated as serious crimes in the UAE.

Additionally, the UAE has stringent laws regarding public decency, drug offenses, and financial crimes. Overall, an arrest warrant in the UAE is a legal instrument that allows law enforcement agencies to apprehend individuals suspected of committing crimes. The issuance and execution of arrest warrants follow established procedures to protect the rights of both the accused and the state.

While the UAE legal system aims to ensure a fair trial, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of the country’s laws and regulations to avoid any legal complications. If faced with an arrest warrant or legal issues in the UAE, seeking legal counsel is strongly advised to navigate the process effectively and protect one’s rights.

Read more

Latest Articles