x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Drink drive actress spared jail on appeal

The lawyer claimed that his client drank the alcohol before her arrival in the UAE and consequently did not break federal law.

DUBAI // A famous Emirati television actress has avoided spending a month in jail after an appeals court yesterday changed the penalties handed down for her conviction on drink driving charges. The Dubai Court of Appeals annulled the jail term and ordered that the 40-year-old pay the Dh20,000 in fines initially imposed by the Dubai Traffic Court.

In addition, the appeals court upheld the traffic court's decision to suspend her driving licence for a year. The actress was arrested on May 12 after she crashed her car into another vehicle in the Rashidiya area near Dubai International Airport. Officers at the scene found her to be intoxicated and slurring her words. The actress was charged with illegal consumption of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and damage to property.

Her blood alcohol content was 242 mg/dl, a level that leaves the subject disorientated and unable to function properly. Prosecutors said the actress drove her car recklessly and in close proximity to another vehicle without paying attention to traffic rules, actions which resulted in a collision. The other motorist involved was not hurt in the incident, but his car was seriously damaged. The actress pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol, which she attributed to being under stress, and denied the other charges at her first appearance before the appellate court last week. Her lawyer, however, told the court that her alcohol consumption occurred outside the country.

The lawyer claimed that his client drank the alcohol before her arrival in the UAE and consequently did not break federal law. A zero-tolerance policy is enforced on driving under the influence of alcohol in the Emirates. Traffic police arrested 817 motorists for drink drive-related offenses last year across the UAE, according to a Ministry of Interior official. amustafa@thenational.ae