Theft involves obtaining someone else's property with the intention of
depriving the other person permanently from such movable property without their
consent. Stealing money, accepting stolen goods or property or obtaining goods
by masquerade. Legal Consultants of Dubai often suggest clients consider
important points highlighted in this article in the case of theft.
Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 regarding the UAE Penal Code exclusively provides
punishment for theft committed within the country. Generally, theft is
perpetrated on movable property having a monetary value belonging to another.
Whereas, the Federal Law Number 5 of 1985 on Commercial Transactions defines
property as something that can be taken under custody. Larceny, shoplifting,
burglary and embezzlement of funds are some common crimes falling under the
criteria of theft.
Types of Theft
In accordance with the UAE Penal Code, there are two categories of theft naming,
aggravated theft and simple theft. Wherein, the former includes the involvement
of arms and results in felony leading to life imprisonment whereas, the outcome
of the latter is misdemeanour resulting in 6 months jail and/or fine. Articles
381-398 of the Penal Code entails the punishments imposed on crimes involving
The criminal jurisprudence focuses on two main elements as perquisites in
ascertaining the depth of any criminal action including theft which involves "mens
rea (mental intent)
" and "actus reus (criminal act)"
. Similarly, involuntary
possession of movable property is another important element in cases of theft.
Cases of simple theft involve where the accused perpetrate the theft under the
following circumstances and is liable for imprisonment for a minimum period of 1
- In the place of worship;
- If committed by in the habitual place of living;
- If committed by breaking in;
- If committed in any means of transport;
- On any injured war survivor;
- On any person carrying the cattle.
In any event, a simple theft would be where the accused misappropriates a
telephone service, any source of telecommunication, any government services, or
diverges or empty any of these services or any electric current used to transmit
such service shall be sentenced to imprisonment and/or fine. Similarly, driving
or riding anyone's car or scooter without permission shall be termed as simple
theft and would invite imprisonment of minimum one year and a fine of not more
than AED 10,000.
Force, coercion and threat used to sign a deed or enter into an agreement or
cancellation thereof shall attract term imprisonment and is considered as simple
Aggravated TheftCircumstances leading to aggravated theft shall entail:
a. Any theft involving usage of weapons shall be considered as aggravated theft,
wherein, if such weapon is used to injure the victim, the accused may be
imprisoned for a term not exceeding 15 years.
b. Any offences conducted under the following circumstances will attract life
- Act committed in the night;
- Two or more individuals are involved;
- Involvement of arms;
- The act involves a person living nearby, or who breaks into the place,
or by personification as a public service agent, or by any other illicit
- Caused by using threat or any other means.
c. Imprisonment between 2 to 7 years shall be imposed on someone who either
commits the theft in the night or with the usage of a weapon. Whereas, the
imprisonment will be between 5 to 7 years if the theft is committed by an
employee during his employment.
d. Any theft committed by threat, coercion and duress along with the weapons to
obtain the property, to attain the possession or to run away with it.