Dubai: It is a process that no one wishes to ever complete, but also extremely important to know in case of unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. If you have to bail yourself or a friend out in the UAE, what is the process to follow?
Gulf News spoke with legal experts in the UAE to find out details of how a person can apply for bail, what are the implications of being out on bail and what you can do if there is no family member or friend to bail you out.
Who can get a bail in the UAE?
Mohamed Gamal, Legal Adviser at Kaden Boriss Legal Consultants Dubai, spoke about the basics of what a bail means legally and which authorities are involved when you want to apply for bail.
“First of all, we must make it clear that criminal cases in the UAE are governed by the UAE Penal Code, as well as by other special laws, for which penal provisions are drawn up, provided that the same provisions do not conflict with the Penal Code,” Gamal said.
“Also, bail can be granted through either the police authority or the Public Prosecutor's office, if there is insufficient evidence against the accused,” he added.
An accused person can obtain bail, but only if the penalty for the charge is not death or life imprisonment.
Are there any crimes that you may not get a bail for?
“An accused person can obtain bail, but only if the penalty for the charge is not death or life imprisonment,” Gamal said.
This is as per Article 111 of Federal Law No. 35 of 1992 ‘Concerning the Criminal Procedural Law’ as amended, which states: “The provisional detained person convicted in a crime sanctioned by a death penalty or a life imprisonment sentence, may not be released. The public prosecution may order a provisional release of the accused under provisional detention, for a felony or a misdemeanor, at any time whether on its own decision or upon request of the accused unless the latter has been referred to the competent court for trial, in which case his release falls within the jurisdiction of the said court.”
Where should I go to apply for bail?
Depending on which authority is dealing with the case – the police or the public prosecutor – the applicant would need to go to submit the bail request to the relevant department. If an individual has just been informed of any charges levied against them by phone or any other mode of communication, they would need to visit a police department to apply for the bail while the investigation is completed, Gamal said.
“If the police file is transmitted to the prosecution after the statutory period of six months, or if the police file has referred the case to the prosecution, pursuant to a request from the complainant himself, the accused may then apply for bail with the prosecutor,” he said.
If, however, the file is referred to a criminal court, a request for bail must be filed with the court during the hearing of the case before the judge or through the electronic prosecution system.
To release the accused provisionally while the criminal case is still pending, the public prosecution or the court, as the case may be, would require him or her to give a reasonable guarantee that he or she will appear whenever his or her presence is required. The law provides the public prosecutor or the criminal court with discretionary powers in determining bail conditions.
Do I always have to submit my passport to get bail?
Reda Hegazy, Senior Associate and Arbitrator at Al Suwaidi and Company Advocates and Legal Consultants, provided details of how a bail application is submitted and processed by UAE authorities.
“To release the accused provisionally while the criminal case is still pending, the public prosecution or the court, as the case may be, would require him or her to give a reasonable guarantee that he or she will appear whenever his or her presence is required. The law provides the public prosecutor or the criminal court with discretionary powers in determining bail conditions,” Hegazy said.
This, he said, can mean retaining the accused's passport, or the passports of his family members or friends. Additionally, a judge may even consider releasing an accused on bail based on a financial guarantee, with or without the passport. The financial guarantee needs to be deposited in in the public prosecution office or the court.
“Dubai’s smart bail allows those charged with minor offences, particularly misdemeanours, to get bail online without having to surrender their passports. However, the accused will be banned from leaving the country and his or her name would be placed on the travel ban list,” Hegazy added.
How long does the process take?
Speaking of how long the process takes, Hegazy said that it depends largely on each case.
“Based on the facts of the case and other parameters, we may say that sometimes the decision on bail request is issued on the same day, and if the Public Prosecution is awaiting results from the Forensic Department, it may take up to 20 days or more to get a decision on the bail request,” he said.
Is there any processing fee that needs to be paid?
There is no fee payable to process the application requesting bail.
What if I don’t have friends or family who can apply for bail?
A request for bail to the Public Prosecution or to the Court can be submitted by the accused as well, apart from his or her lawyer or first-degree relative, according to Hegazy.
You would also need to provide certain documents like your passport, the bail application, the remand situation and the extent to which the accused is affected, Gamal said.
“Additionally, the accused’s tenancy contract and a valid telephone number might need to be submitted. A request for a travel ban could also be submitted as an alternative,” Gamal added.