Zero tolerance


Police stopped a vehicle, indicating possible DUI.

If you are under the age of 22 and have recently acquired your driver’s license, you may be eager to celebrate this achievement with friends and loved ones. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety. In Quebec, a strict regulation has been in effect since April 15, 2012. It mandates that all drivers aged 21 and under are prohibited from operating a vehicle with any detectable level of alcohol in their bloodstream. Even the slightest trace of alcohol in their system constitutes a criminal offence under this zero tolerance policy. This measure has been implemented to mitigate the occurrence of alcohol-related accidents involving young drivers while ensuring their continued mobility.

What if you have a regular driver’s license?

The zero tolerance policy affects all 21-year-old drivers, even those who possess a standard, non-probationary driver’s license. Quebec’s zero tolerance policy is not contingent on the type of driver’s license but instead focuses on the driver’s age. In practical terms, it means that even a 21-year-old driver with a “full” driver’s license remains subject to this stringent alcohol tolerance regulation. This zero tolerance extends to all drivers aged 21 and under, regardless of the vehicle they are operating, be it a passenger car, motorcycle, or any other type of vehicle.

The relevant section of the Highway Safety Code reads as follows: The following persons are prohibited from driving a road vehicle or having the care or control of it if there is any presence of alcohol in their body: (4) a person aged 21 or under who holds a driver’s licence. The article is clear and leaves no room for interpretation.

Penalties for drinking and driving under 21

Penalties for violating this zero tolerance policy are outlined in the Highway Safety Code and include the following:

  • Anyone under the age of 22 who is caught with the slightest trace of alcohol will have their license suspended. The suspension is for 90 days;
  • If this person is subsequently found guilty of the offence, four demerit points will be added to their driving record;
  • In addition, a fine varying between $300 and $600 will be imposed on this person.

Depending on your license type and the number of demerit points you have allocated, a single offence like this could potentially lead to a license suspension. Such a consequence can have severe implications. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider alternative solutions for individuals in this situation. Opting for a taxi, Uber, or exploring alternative transportation methods is a far wiser choice than risking drinking and driving.

What to do if you violate the zero tolerance policy

The first thing to do is to contact a traffic ticket lawyer immediately. It is important to act quickly because you only have 30 days to dispute a violation. As mentioned above, drinking and driving — even under 21 — can be considered a criminal offence. So it’s important to follow the guidance and consultation of an experienced traffic lawyer.

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Portrait professionnel de la stagiaire Mélanie Gosselin.

Mélanie Gosselin


Melanie joined the Riendeau Avocats team in 2023 and is currently doing her Bar internship with the firm. She obtained her law degree from the University of Sherbrooke in 2021. Melanie was excited to join Riendeau Avocats in order to combine her passion for criminal and penal law with that of helping people in difficulty.

Portrait professionnel de l'adjointe Carolia.

Carolia Ranivoharindrano

Accounting Manager
After earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Concordia University, Carolia decided to continue her studies in Paralegal Technology at CDI College. Passionate about criminal law, she decided to join the Riendeau Avocats team to complete her internship. She loves learning more about the field of criminal and penal law from lawyers. In addition, with her many years of experience in customer service, she knows how to help clients with professionalism and rigor, in order to give the best satisfaction to the firm’s clients.
Portrait professionnel de l'avocat Pascal Gilbert.

Pascal Gilbert

Penal and Criminal Lawyer
Me Pascal Gilbert is passionate about law. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Montreal, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in history, Me Gilbert joined the Riendeau Avocats team as a criminal and penal lawyer. Listening to the needs of his clients, he will be able to be creative in order to explore all possible avenues throughout your legal process. Mr. Gilbert has excellent research and writing skills and is a keen learner. He wants to advance the law in the best possible direction.
Portrait professionnel de l'avocate Gabrielle Lauzon.

Gabrielle Lauzon

Criminal and Penal Lawyer
Bachelor of Laws under the COOP regime of the University of Sherbrooke, Me Gabrielle Lauzon joined the Riendeau Avocats team as a criminal lawyer after completed his internship. Me Lauzon shows great compassion towards everyone of its customers and always remains available to help others. Driven by her thirst for knowledge and her dynamism, she devotes herself enormously to each of her causes. to the Safety Code road.
Portrait professionnel de l'avocat Anthoni Daoust.

Me Anthoni Daoust

Penal and Criminal Lawyer
Holder of a minor in criminology from the UdM and a law degree from the UdS, Mr. Daoust is a criminal and penal lawyer, who is deeply interested in the recognition and respect of everyone’s rights. A progressive prosecutor, he engages in a practice aimed at democratizing access to justice. His analytical and negotiation skills allow him to obtain the best possible settlement in order to ensure his clients a full and complete defense.
Portrait professionnel de l'avocat Anthoni Daoust.

Me Chanèle Lecompte

Criminal and Penal Lawyer
A lawyer practicing mainly criminal and penal law, Me Chanèle Lecompte holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sherbrooke. During her university career, she had the chance to do an internship with the judiciary, which allowed her to acquire the many assets that she puts forward during her representations before the courts. Passionate about criminal law, Me Lecompte will accompany you and defend you during the different stages of your case, and will listen to you.