Although the UAE has recently taken a number of steps to ease the criminal sanctions for bounced cheques, it still remains a criminal offence to present a cheque drawn on an account with insufficient funds to cover the value of the same. The filing of a criminal complaint can therefore still be a valuable tool in a creditor’s array of debt collection options and should not be discounted for the simple reason that it will not lead to a custodial sentence (for amounts below the relevant threshold).
The process for the filing of a complaint can often change without knowledge, however at the time of preparing this guide, the following procedure applied:
1. A written complaint should be prepared in Arabic and submitted through the Dubai Police’s online portal at the following link: (Dubai Police Portal – https://www.dubaipolice.gov.ae/wps/portal/home/services/individualservicesconte nt/reportbouncedchequesDetails). A transaction number will be issued – this should be kept in a safe place in order to follow-up on any progress.
2. The Police will send a request to the relevant bank to obtain the signatory’s details. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to weeks for this information to be available, however we suggest following-up after about five (5) days to see whether the bank replied to the Police.
3. As a complainant, you will also be requested to attend at the Police station to provide the following evidence: a) The original cheque returned from the bank; b) The return advice slip from the bank to confirm that the cheque was returned and stating the reason why it was returned (i.e. insufficient funds); and c) A copy of the signatory’s passport that you hold on file together with that person’s full address and contact details.4
4. On accepting of the complaint, the Police will formally register the complaint and provide a case number (please keep this number in a safe place as it will be used going forward).
5. If the Police received a response confirming the signatory’s details, then they will attempt to contact the signatory and request him/her to attend the relevant Police station to answer the complaint.
6. If the signatory does not respond to the Police, or if they cannot be located, then the Police will also circulate a request to the immigration authorities to prevent the signatory from traveling (travel ban). If the signatory does attempt to travel, then immigration authorities can detain them.
7. If the signatory is able to pay the outstanding dues, then you can apply to the Police and request to withdraw the complaint and attend the Police station to collect the funds.
8. If the signatory is unable to pay, then they may forward the matter to the Public Prosecutor, who may then refer the matter to the Criminal Courts to decide. The filing of a criminal complaint will not result in a judgment ordering the debtor to pay – it is only a strategy to punish the signatory (whether with a fine or imprisonment). Unfortunately, the filing of a criminal complaint does not always result in the successful recovery of a commercial debt, in which case, you will be required to file a civil claim with the Court in order for a civil judgment to be issued.
How to check if you have a Police case in UAE?
Residents can now check online if they have financial cases registered in Dubai alone,and will not be valid for other Emirates.Dubai Police has an online free-of-charge service, that enables residents in the UAE to check if they have a travel ban due to financial cases in the emirate of Dubai only. To use the service you need to enter your Emirates ID card number and further have assess to the mobile number registered against the Emirates ID. Upon entering the UID number, the requester will require to verify themselves with an OTP sent to the mobile number.To avail the service visit the Dubai Police website or download the Dubai Police app available on iTunes and Google Play.
How to check if you have a Criminal case in AbuDhabi?
The Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi has an online service, which enables the residents of Abu Dhabi to check whether they are requested by the Public Prosecution for any claims against them. To use the service, requester must enter his/her unified number and again,as in the previous case, have access to their mobile number registered against the Emirates ID.
How to check if you have a Criminal case in other Emirates including Sharjah?
While an online system doesn,t prevail for the rest of Emirates,the most feasible option here will be to either appoint a lawyer or provide a near relative or friend with a power of attorney. In the event that you are in the UAE,the police will insist that you come in person. In the event that you are out of the country,you will require to get the POA attested by the department of state, the UAE embassy in your home country and finally the Arabic translation ought to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
The grantee appointed through the POA ought to visit the cheque bounce division of local police stations;or a duty officer at the CID department; with the original POA, a copy of his/her,s ID and a copy of the grantor,s ID or passport copy to look up further details.
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