In Quebec, individuals as young as 16 with a valid license can operate a vehicle. Acquiring a driver’s license involves obtaining a learner’s license first, by successfully completing both theoretical and practical exams conducted by the Société de l’assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Quebec offers various categories of driver’s licenses, with the number of demerit points allocated contingent on your age and the license category.
Quebec learner's license
To obtain a learner’s permit, you must be a minimum of 16 years old, and if you’re under 18, written consent is acquired from a legal guardian. This permit grants you the privilege of driving a vehicle as long as a licensed driver with at least two years of experience accompanies you. You’re given a year and a half to fulfill all the prerequisites specified by the SAAQ before your learner’s license expires. A learner’s license comes with a limit of four demerit points, so accumulating four or more points on your driving record will result in an automatic license suspension. It’s crucial to note that a learner’s license is subject to a “zero tolerance” policy, which strictly prohibits any alcohol consumption before driving. Getting behind the wheel after drinking can lead to severe legal repercussions, including a 90-day license suspension. Furthermore, there are legal restrictions associated with a learner’s license that prohibit driving between midnight and 5 a.m., and violations can result in substantial fines.
Quebec probationary license
The probationary license grants you the privilege of driving solo, without requiring a supervising driver. This license is valid for two years. To qualify for a probationary license, you must have held a learner’s permit for a minimum of 10 months. As with the learner’s permit, this license operates on a four-demerit-point system. Accumulating four demerit points will lead to an automatic suspension of your probationary license. The zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption also applies to this license type. You are strictly prohibited from driving after consuming any alcohol, and any violations will result in penalties. If you are under 19, you are limited to having only one passenger who is also under the age of 19 in the vehicle between midnight and 5 a.m. during the first six months of your probationary license. However, in the latter half of the first year of your probationary license, you can have a maximum of three passengers under 19 between midnight and 5 a.m.
Quebec driver’s license
To obtain your driver’s license, you must have held your probationary license for a minimum of two years. There are three different demerit point systems: 8 points, 12 points, and 15 points, which vary depending on your age. If you are 23 years old or younger and have a driver’s license, you will be subject to the eight-demerit-point system. If you are 23 or 24 years old, the 12-demerit-point system applies to you, and if you are 25 years or older, you will be governed by the 15-demerit-point system. It’s essential to note that the zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption applies to individuals under 21 years old, even if they have a driver’s license.
When are demerit points added to my driving record?
Demerit points are added to your driving record when you pay your ticket or when the court hands down a judgment finding you guilty. If you pay your statement of offence, the court sends the information to the SAAQ and the latter then enters the points in your file. It’s important to note that paying your fine is automatically equivalent to pleading guilty. So, it is no longer possible to contest your ticket after paying the fine.
How long do demerit points stay on my driving record?
The demerit points you accumulate remain on your driving record for two years following the date of your conviction. After this period, they will be erased from your file. However, for excessive speeding, even though the points will be erased after two years, they will remain visible in your driving record for ten years.
What to do after receiving a statement of offence
Upon receiving a ticket, contact us immediately. Our team of expert traffic ticket lawyers will be able to help you contest your ticket, save your demerit points, and clear your name.