Drinking and Driving Laws in Quebec

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Drinking and driving laws in Quebec are tougher than ever since new measures in the Quebec Highway Safety Code, in effect since December 7, 2008, have been enforced. And getting caught costs exponentially more than calling in a designated driver service.

Below sums up what first-time offenders in Montreal can expect if caught driving under the influence of alcohol (also medications or drugs), in other words, exceeding the blood alcohol limit allowed in Quebec.

Upon Arrest—Immediate License Suspension and Car Seizure

If pulled over by the police, drinking and driving laws in Quebec stipulate that you'll have your driving privileges immediately suspended for 90 days or more and have your car seized, even with no prior impaired driving offenses, if:

  • you exceed the maximum blood alcohol content allowed by law
  • you are a new driver (i.e., in possession of a learner's permit or a probationary license) and have any alcohol in your blood
  • you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test

Fees and Fines for a First Offense

In addition to having a criminal record and facing jail time, if a drinking and driving accident caused injury or death as well as an immediate license suspension upon arrest and a license revocation lasting one to three years following the first offense of impaired driving, you can expect to pay:

  • a minimum fine of $1,000
  • $150 for a mandatory Alcofrein session
  • $220 for a summary assessment of your drinking habits
  • $547 for a more complete assessment, if the summary assessment suggests your drinking habits could interfere with your ability to operate a motor vehicle
  • $135 for installation of an alcohol interlock device plus $95/month for rental fees, if applicable
  • up to $400 to obtain a new driver's license, if applicable
  • $1,500 to $3,000 fine for driving during a suspension period, if applicable
  • costs related to vehicle seizure, if applicable
  • other costs and fees, if applicable

And that was just for getting caught once. Costs related to a first offense can reach $2,000 or more, not including lawyer's fees and increased automobile insurance premiums. Also, count on prison time if a car accident due to drunk driving causes injury or death.

Consequences for a Second Offense

In addition to financial costs which are higher than for a first offense, estimated at $5,700 minimum, not including lawyer's fees and increased automobile insurance premiums, this is what second-time offenders face if caught in the act:

  • immediate license suspension for 90 days
  • vehicle seizure and impoundment for 90 days
  • 30 days of prison
  • driver's license revoked for 3 to 5 years
  • a driver's assessment program
  • installation of an alcohol interlock device with installation and monthly rental fees charged to the driver

To get more information specific to your situation, consult the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec website for all the sordid and expensive details.

Note: all fines, fees, and details above may be subject to change without notice.

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