If you are a westerner or a Non-Muslim, you would suppose that you can drink as freely as in other countries. This is not true because laws are different here and the level of tolerance on alcohol business in Dubai is also different.
Alcohol can be found in Dubai, but the consumption is guarded by a set of governing rules. You have to be 18 years of legal age for drinking alcohol in the UAE capital. In Dubai however, you would have to pass the mark of 21 years to make a legal consumption. Drinking alcohol is illegal for Muslims and alcohol licenses are issued to Non-Muslims only.
It is a crime to consume alcohol if you are a Muslim and if you are a Non-Muslim without alcohol license, buying it from an off-license without an alcohol license, drinking it in public or have not reached the legal age of drinking.
Only a few hotels are licensed to serve wine within the private areas where there are hotels, restaurants and clubs located in somewhat isolation from the main city center. The local residents of Dubai who are Non-Muslims are allowed to buy and drink alcohol within their residence after obtaining a liquor license. Under Dubai law, you would be subjected to legal action if you purchase it without a license.
The local authorities have zero tolerance policy, in case you are found drunk while driving. Your body would be tested for any traces of liquor and you would be arrested and imprisoned. It can also lead to deportation.
If you are not drunk yourself but out with drunk friends or caught dancing with your drunk friends, you would also be subject to acquisition from the police and it can also lead you to imprisonment. It is recommended to hire taxi or local car service because you would be safer (as the driver won’t be drunk) and is economical too.
A drunk person has no control over his/her behavior or driving. It is better to be safe than sorry. Consuming alcohol is in no way permitted to Muslims under the Dubai laws which comply to Islamic Sharia. If you mistakenly, ignorantly or out of unawareness consume alcohol, that is not enough of a prove yourself clear in the courts. Even the hospital authorities would report you to police if you go for a check-up due to feeling of sickness. It would be a hard thing to prove yourself in the bar; you would need to present a proof. You can however take the services of Dubai lawyers to support you in the court hearings in case you find yourself in such a situation and want to avoid the punishment.