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Stealing vehicle number plate is punishable in UAE

Stealing vehicle number plate is punishable in UAE

Stealing vehicle number plate is punishable in UAE

“Where there is a property there is a theft”- Ursula K. Le Guin  

It is an astonishing but serious fact that vehicle number plates are becoming a target object of theft. In the last three years, 799 car plates have been stolen in UAE, shocking right? These stolen number plates are used in the commission of other serious crimes, putting life and security of civilians at greater peril. Recently Dubai court sentenced four Asians to six months imprisonment for stealing a number plate from a vehicle parked next to a park in Dubai’s Al Bida area.

In this article, we are going to discuss the offense of stealing number plates with the help of our best criminal lawyers of UAE.

What’s the offense? 

The act of stealing the plate number of a vehicle is considered a serious offense under Dubai Law. It would fall under the definition of ‘theft’ which means taking of property belonging to a person, other than the criminal, without his consent.

How it’s punishable? 

The offense of theft is punishable by a jail sentence of at least six months or a fine, but under Article 442 of the UAE penal code, if theft is committed as a means of transport, then the imprisonment of not less than one year may be imposed. Moreover, when theft is committed during night hours and by a person carrying a weapon then imprisonment can be up to seven years. 

Likewise, in the opinion of our best lawyers of UAE, when a person has committed robbery, coercion, or theft by using weapons with the purpose of either keeping, obtaining, or running away with the stolen goods, he shall be punished with imprisonment ranging between three to fifteen years. An attempt to commit theft is punishable with half of the penalty prescribed for the commission of the actual crime.

The extent of the court’s discretion:

Our best criminal lawyers of UAE have pointed out that if the court after considering the circumstances of the crime or the criminal itself believe that this particular case requires mercy, then the penalty of temporary imprisonment could be lessened to a jail sentence for a period of at least three months under Article 99(3). However, this does not mean that the penalty could be converted into a mere fine, and the same principle was reiterated by the Federal Supreme Court in case no. 575 of 2020 on 7th September 2020.

Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, said the police force is looking at options to stop number plate thefts in the country. “We want to stop the theft of plate numbers in the country. We want to shape the future and find ideas to fight the crime.”


The criminal law system of UAE may appear complicated and confusing sometimes but our team of best criminal lawyers in UAE will assist you with the whole process of a criminal case, be it documentation, investigation, or representation for legal proceedings. Contact us at or call +971 508014003 to get the best legal advice in Dubai.

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