Common questions about Omani Penal Code No 7/2018

What’s the difference between a felony, misdemeanour, and offences?

The Omani Penal Code specified three categories of offences classified according to the length of the custodial sentence and the fine:

Felonies: offences punishable by death, absolute imprisonment, or temporary imprisonment from (3) three to (15) fifteen years.

Misdemeanours: These offences are punishable by imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 days, not more than 3 years, a fine of not less than 100 hundred Omani rials and not more than 1000 thousand Omani rials, one of these penalties.

Offences: These offences are punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding (10) days, a fine not less than (10) Omani rials, or (100) 100 Omani rials, either of these two penalties.

Who is the judicial enforcement officers who have the right to arrest and investigate the accused?

The judicial enforcement officers are defined as members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, police officers, public security officials, prefects and their deputies, and any person authorized by law to do so as inspectors of the Ministry of Manpower and the General Authority for Consumer Protection according to Article 31 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

What should I do if I get a call from the police or the prosecution?

We recommend immediate contact with a criminal lawyer before attending any investigation or meeting with the police or the prosecution. You should know the reason for the appearance, either investigating you as a defendant or for testimony. In the first case, some essential steps must be taken, such as hiring a lawyer or prepare personal or financial bail.

Should I answer the questions during the investigation?

You may refrain from answering the questions of the prosecutor or the court, and your silence cannot be interpreted as admission to the commission of the crime in question.

Is it possible to be arrested without prior notice?

Yes, if the investigation authorities have enough evidence of committed a crime. The police have the right to detain you for investigation purposes for a period not exceeding 48 hours. The public prosecutor has the power to extend the detention to another 45 days. If the Public Prosecutor wishes to extend the detention beyond 45 days, they must obtain court authorization for a period not exceeding six months.

What bail are you asking me to release?

The prosecution or court has the authority to release you if it would not affect the investigation, and there is no possibility of escape. Bail may be personal or financial and is a means of ensuring that you are able to investigate or prosecute. If bail is financial and fails to attend the investigation or court, bail will be confiscated for the benefit of the State.

Can I ask the court to provide a lawyer if I can’t afford it?

The accused may seek judicial assistance to appoint a lawyer, however reasons must be provided to justify the request.
Is a plea agreement in exchange for closing the case with the prosecution a good choice?
We recommend taking advice from a criminal lawyer before making any plea agreement to obtain a settlement with the prosecution, because there are crimes that cannot be reconciled with the prosecution.

What should I expect at the first court appearance?

At the first hearing, the prosecutor will read the referral decision containing the charges against you, after which the judge will ask you if you plead guilty or not. The judge may continue to ask questions, but you must know that at this hearing you do not have to answer but have the right to adjourn the hearing to see the evidence of the indictment if you cannot see it before the first hearing. If you are not represented by a lawyer at this hearing, it is likely that the judge will discuss your plans to hire a lawyer, particularly in cases where the law requires a lawyer to appear as a homicide. If you are detained, you are entitled to require the judge to reduce your bail proceedings.

Ali Al Rashdi

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