Alcohol Limits for Drivers in Quebec 2024

Drink and drive laws in Quebec

In Quebec, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08%, equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

Please keep in mind that the goal of this post is merely to provide information on impaired driving in Quebec. The article does not support drinking a specific quantity and driving.

We strongly advise against driving while intoxicated in any way. Even if you only drink within the legal limit, we highly urge you to book a cab, Uber, or designated driver service.

It’s also a good idea to regularly check the state or province’s official website for updates on the laws governing drunk driving.

What is the legal alcohol limit for driving in Quebec?

In Quebec, the legal alcohol limits for driving vary based on the driver’s license type and age. These limits are designed to promote road safety and reduce the risks associated with impaired driving. Below is a breakdown of the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits for different categories of drivers:

  • Regular Drivers: The legal BAC limit is 0.08%. This applies to most drivers operating personal vehicles.
  • Commercial Drivers: For those holding a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit is 0.00%, meaning no detectable amount of alcohol is permitted in their system while driving.
  • Drivers Under 22 Years of Age: Regardless of license type, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 22 to operate a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their bloodstream.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Quebec

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in Quebec, carrying significant legal consequences. The penalties vary depending on the severity of the offense, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and their history of similar offenses. Here’s a summary of the potential legal outcomes:

First Offence Penalties

  • Highway Safety Code:
    • Immediate license suspension for either 24 hours or 90 days, depending on circumstances.
    • Immediate vehicle seizure and impoundment for 30 days, varying with the situation.
  • Criminal Code:
    • Driving prohibition for a minimum of one year.
    • License revocation for 1 to 3 years, or more, based on court decisions.
    • Mandatory participation in programs for assessing and reducing impaired driving risks.
    • Possible enrollment in the Alcofrein program.
    • Requirement to install an alcohol ignition interlock device for a variable period.
    • Acquisition of a criminal record.
    • A minimum fine of $1,000.
    • Driving prohibition for a minimum one-year period.

Repeat Offence Within 10 Years

  • Upon Arrest:
    • 90 days of immediate license suspension.
    • 90 days of immediate vehicle seizure and impoundment.
  • After Criminal Conviction:
    • Minimum two-year driving prohibition.
    • License revocation for 3 to 5 years or longer, as decided by the court.
    • Potential imprisonment.
    • Restrictions on vehicle registration, acquisition, rental, or leasing under the offender’s name.
    • Lifetime requirement for an alcohol ignition interlock device, with the possibility of removal after 10 years for first repeat offenders.

Costs Related to a First Offence

  • Minimum cost of $1,750, not including additional expenses like lawyer fees, alcohol ignition interlock device costs, increased insurance premiums, court fees, contributions to the crime victim’s compensation plan, and more.

Traffic Offences Outside Quebec

  • Offences committed in Ontario, Maine, and New York that lead to demerit points are recorded on the Quebec driving record as if they occurred within Quebec.

Zero Alcohol Rule

  • For Drivers Under 22 Years, Learners, or Probationary Licence Holders:
    • 90 days of immediate license suspension.
    • 4 demerit points.
    • Fines ranging from $300 to $600.
  • For Commercial Drivers (Taxis, Limousines, Buses, Minibuses):
    • 24 hours of immediate class suspension for the corresponding vehicle type.

Other Considerations

  • The law also addresses the care or control of a vehicle while impaired, which includes being in the driver’s seat of a stationary or inoperative vehicle, or being in proximity to the vehicle with the potential to drive.

Refusal to Comply

  • Refusal to undergo tests by a peace officer results in severe penalties under both the Criminal Code and the Highway Safety Code.

Stay Informed

Laws and penalties can evolve, so it’s crucial to stay updated by frequently checking the official Quebec government website for the latest information on impaired driving laws and penalties.

How Can I Calculate if My Alcohol Blood Limit is Legal in Quebec?

In Quebec, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving is 0.08% for regular drivers, with stricter limits for commercial drivers and minors. The police use breathalyzers and blood tests to determine a driver’s BAC level. These methods are considered highly accurate and are the standard for legal proceedings related to impaired driving.

If you’re concerned about staying within legal limits, there are ways to estimate your BAC before deciding to drive:

1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer

As a former phlebologist with a decade of experience, I recommend using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer to self-test your BAC. One of the best options available in Quebec is the BACtrack S80. This device offers Professional-Grade Accuracy and is DOT & NHTSA Approved, as well as FDA 510(k) Cleared. Keeping a BACtrack S80 in your vehicle can be a practical measure to prevent impaired driving. It’s important for drivers in Quebec to be aware of their BAC levels, as many might inadvertently drive under the influence, not realizing their impairment level.

2. Utilize a BAC Calculator

Together with fellow phlebologists and web developers, I’ve developed a BAC calculator, which is available online. This tool is designed to help you estimate your blood alcohol level based on the amount of alcohol consumed, your weight, and other relevant factors. While no online calculator or breathalyzer can guarantee 100% accuracy, they can provide a good estimate of your BAC, helping you make informed decisions about driving.

Keep in Mind

Both of these methods are meant to serve as guidelines rather than definitive measures of your ability to drive legally. Factors such as metabolism, food intake, and individual health conditions can affect BAC readings and how alcohol impacts your body. Therefore, if you’re close to or above the 0.08% limit, the safest choice is to not drive.

Using these tools can help you make safer choices and potentially prevent the risks associated with drunk driving. Remember, the goal is to ensure not only your safety but also that of others on the road.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Quebec

Drink beer and drive in Quebec

Driving under the influence of alcohol poses serious risks to both the driver and others on the road. In Quebec, where the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is strictly enforced, it’s important to plan ahead if you’ll be consuming alcohol. Here are two effective strategies to ensure you stay safe and avoid driving with a high BAC:

1. Utilize Ride-Sharing Apps and Local Taxi Services

One of the most convenient ways to avoid the temptation of driving after drinking is to use ride-sharing apps like Uber. These apps provide a quick and easy way to get a ride with just a few taps on your smartphone. Additionally, consider supporting local taxi companies, which offer reliable services throughout Quebec. For instance, in Montreal, you can rely on Taxi Service Montréal & Airport Taxi Grand Quebec, while in Quebec City, Taxi Québec Centre-ville is a reputable choice. These services are readily available and can safely get you to your destination without the risk of driving under the influence.

2. Order a Designated Driver Service

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven to a location and consumed alcohol, but don’t want to leave your car behind, a designated driver service is a great solution. These services provide a driver who will drive you and your car home safely. In Montreal, Our Driver Montreal offers such services, and in Quebec City, you can reach out to Point Zero 8. Simply searching for “designated driver service” along with your city name on Google will help you find a suitable service nearby.

By planning ahead and choosing alternatives to driving yourself home after drinking, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and legal consequences associated with high BAC levels. Whether you opt for a ride-sharing app, local taxi service, or a designated driver service, the key is to make responsible choices that ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. Remember, no matter how you choose to get home, the most important thing is that you do not drive under the influence.


Drive Safely

Quebec boasts one of the lowest rates of drink-and-drive accidents in Canada, yet experienced an uptick in such incidents in 2019. It’s crucial to understand the laws and penalties surrounding impaired driving in the region to ensure public safety and compliance.

There’s no justification for driving under the influence when numerous alternatives exist for getting home safely. Driving after drinking endangers not only your life but also the lives of others on the road. Options like designating a driver, taking a taxi, utilizing public transport, or calling a friend are sensible choices.

It’s crucial to stay within legal BAC limits if you must drive, but the safest approach is to avoid driving after consuming alcohol altogether. Checking the latest laws on official websites and using a reliable breathalyzer can help ensure you’re making responsible decisions.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.