Picture for illustration purposes only.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Consuming alcohol without a license in the UAE is no longer a criminal offence after the UAE government announced sweeping changes to personal and civil laws in the country.
The amendments to the laws, announced on Saturday (November 7), are seen as one of the biggest overhauls of the UAE legal system. The changes are effective immediately.
The federal law has also been changed to scrap the need for a license to buy or consume alcohol in any emirate. Previously, this only applied in Abu Dhabi.
However, the amendments also give each emirate “the right to issue legislation regulating this issue”. It is believed that Sharjah may remain a completely “dry” emirate as it maintains its regulations on the sale of alcohol.
On decriminalizing alcohol consumption, the amended UAE law says “anyone who drinks, is in possession of alcohol or sells alcoholic beverages in authorised areas without an alcohol licence will no longer face penalties”.
Previously, individuals face prosecution for consuming alcohol without a license.
Now, alcohol can be consumed privately or in licensed public places. A person must be at least 21 years old to legally drink alcohol in the UAE.
Anyone caught illegally selling alcohol will still face prosecution. ICA/Expat Media
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