BAC calculator

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Alcohol and driving do not mix.

Want to know if you're fit to drive after drinking? Our blood alcohol concentration calculator above can help you estimate if you are able to legally drive. Remember that the above is only a tool. It will show you how with just a couple of drinks you may well be over the legal limit. If you have any doubts about your ability to drive legally and safely, don't get behind the wheel of a car. Make alternative arrangements or wait.

In the guide below, we will also give you information about what the Canadian law states about drink-driving, what are the authorized limits, the limits not to cross, and the sanctions.

Drinking and driving

Drunk driving is a serious offence, regardless of the province you find yourself in.

The federal Criminal Code dictates the impaired driving offences, penalties and enforcement procedures in Canada. All of these laws are based on the .08% BAC legal limit. BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration, or blood alcohol content. It is frequently measured using a Breathalyzer test.

Impaired driving penalties in Canada

Below, you will see a table showing the penalties for drink-driving depending on the number of times you've been convicted:

OffenceBAC level FineMandatory Prison time
1st time .08% to .119%Minimum of $1,000
-.120% to .159%Minimum of $1,500
-.160 or higherMinimum of $2,000
2nd timeOver .08% Minimum of 30 days
3rd time or moreOver .08% Minimum of 120 days
Penalties for impaired driving in Canada

The maximum penalty for any of the above charges is 10 years.

For every province and territory in Canada, there are different legal rights of authority. This means the police can impose additional laws and penalties, on top of the ones that already apply. The above shows minimums. First time may face prison time, suspension of their drivers license or additional fines.

For example, most provinces and territories have penalties, such as license suspensions at the .05% BAC level, .00% BAC laws for new or young drivers, car impoundment measures and sanction programmes.

To protect drivers against any accidents that they may be responsible for, Canadian law requires that you take out third-party liability car insurance, in order to be able to drive. If you want to compare the best auto insurance in Canada, our comparison tool is available to you below:

Compare the best car insurance deals and save

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Impaired driving penalties province-by-province

Below, you can find a table showing how penalties differ between provinces:

Alberta

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time or more
Penalties follow the federal guidelines. However, additional sanctions may apply.
  • 10-day immediate license suspension
  • Additional one-year driving suspension where you must participate in an Ignition Interlock Program if you wish to drive again
  • Vehicle will be seized for 30 days
  • To participate in a ‘Planning Ahead’ course
  • Immediate 90-day licence suspension
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • Receive a three-year license suspension, but you may be permitted to drive if you agree to an ignition interlock device
  • Complete an IMPACT Program
  • Pay $2000 fine
  • Initial 90 day complete license suspension is applied
  • A lifetime suspension unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • You can only apply to have the interlock requirement removed after 10 years, but it isn’t guaranteed
  • $2,000 fine
  • 30-day vehicle seizure rules also apply.
Impaired driving penalties in Alberta

British Columbia

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time or more
In addition to the federal penalties and standards, local laws are even more strict. The laws differ depending on if your BAC is over .05 or .08If your BAC is over .05:

  • Immediate three-day license seizure
  • A three-day vehicle impoundment
  • A $200 administrative penalty
  • To apply to have your license reinstated


If your BAC is over .08:

  • Immediately surrender your license
  • Be issued a Notice of Driving Prohibition for 90 day
If your BAC is over .05:

  • Penalty of a seven-day license seizure
  • Seven-day vehicle impound
  • A $300 administrative penalty
  • Potentially a referral to the Responsible Driver Program


If your BAC is over .08:


  • Immediately surrender your license
  • Be issued a Notice of Driving Prohibition for 90 days, effective on the spot
  • Vehicle could be impounded for up to 90 days.
  • To participate in the Responsible Driver Program and Ignition Interlock Program
If your BAC is over .05:

  • 30-day license forfeiture
  • 0-day impoundment
  • $400 admin penalty
  • Possibly a referral for the Ignition Interlock Program


If your BAC is over .08:

  • Immediately surrender your license
  • Be issued a Notice of Driving Prohibition for 90 days, effective on the spot
  • Vehicle could be impounded for up to 90 days
  • To participate in the Responsible Driver Program and Ignition Interlock Program
Impaired driving penalties in BC

A BAC reading up to .049 may result in a 12-hour driving prohibition if you’re in the Graduated Licensing Program, and you’ll start your 24 month N license period over.

Manitoba

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
In Manitoba, a suspected drug or alcohol impairment may result in a 24-hour roadside suspensionIf your BAC is between .05 and .79, it is considered a ‘warn’ level:

  • Penalty of at least $400
  • A tiered vehicle impoundment term of 3 to 60 days
  • The loss of five points on the Driver Safety Rating


If your BAC is .08 or more:

  • A three-month Administrative License Suspension is levied
  • Losing up to 15 points on the Driver Safety Rating scale
  • A large fine
  • Possible prison time
  • A driving prohibition
  • Mandatory license suspension **Participation in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • Vehicle forfeiture
If you have your license suspended two times:

  • Mandatory Impaired Driver Program assessment must be completed at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba—at your expense
If you have your license suspended three or more times:

  • A mandatory Impaired Driver Program assessment must be completed at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba—at your expense
Impaired driving penalties in Manitoba

New Brunswick

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
The Motor Vehicle Act in New Brunswick enforces stricter impaired driving laws than the federal standards.For a BAC level between .05 and .079:

  • A seven-day license suspension
For a BAC level between .05 and .079:

  • 15-day suspension
For a BAC level between .05 and .079:

  • 30-day suspension
  • A license reinstatement fee
  • Mandatory involvement in a drinking driver education course
Impaired driving penalties in New Brunswick

Vehicles may also be impounded for:

-Up to seven days if the BAC is within the warning range 
-30 days on the first suspension with a BAC of .08 or higher
-60 days on subsequent infractions

For criminal offences related to drink-driving in New Brunswick, a Breathalyzer is mandatory for any vehicle you then wish to drive. The ignition interlock device is voluntary for short-term license suspensions.

Newfoundland and Labrador

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the strictest provinces for impaired driving.

If you are under 22 years old, you may not have a BAC higher than 0 while driving and convictions are possible for BAC levels higher than .049. 
For a BAC between .05 and .08:

  • A two-month suspension


For a BAC higher than .08:


  • Immediate 24-hour suspension
  • 90-day license suspension beginning 14 days after the arrest is levied
  • A one-year driving prohibition
  • $600 fine **Alcohol education program
For a BAC between .05 and .08:

  • Immediate four-month suspension


For a BAC higher than .08:


  • A three-year driving prohibition
  • A minimum of 14 days jail time
  • Alcohol and drug screening
For a BAC between .05 and .08:

  • A six-month suspension **An alcohol education program



For a BAC higher than .08:


  • 10-year driving prohibition **90 days jail time
  • Alcohol & drug screening
Impaired driving penalties in Newfoundland and Labrador

Drivers under 22 years old should expect an immediate seven-day vehicle impoundment if alcohol levels under .08 are found. For any driver convicted of impaired driving, it is mandatory to participate in an ignition interlock program

Nova Scotia

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
Nova Scotia’s impaired driving penalties are strict and broken down into four categories.
  • A fine of $600 to $2,000
  • A one-year license revocation from date of conviction
  • A mandatory addiction assessment program **License reinstatement fee
  • You may be required to retake your driving tests
  • A fine of $600 to $2,000
  • A possible prison term of 14 days or more
  • A three-year driving suspension
  • A license reinstatement fee
  • Addiction assessment program
  • A mandatory license retesting
  • 90 days jail time or more
  • A minimum 10-year revocation of driving privileges


A fourth offence carries a permanent revocation of driving privileges
Impaired driving penalties in Nova Scotia

There are new laws that apply if you are convicted of impaired driving while a child under the age of 16 is onboard:

  • Lose your license for two years
  • Pay a minimum $1,000 fine

  • Lose your license for two years
  • Pay a minimum $1,000 fine
  • Must participate in an addictions program and an ignition interlock program to get your license back

Ontario

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
In Ontario, the impaired driving law goes further than the federal laws.
  • A one-year license suspension
  • Mandatory education or treatment program **Required use of ignition interlock device for a year
  • Medical evaluation
  • Three-year license suspension
  • Three-year requirement for an ignition interlock device
  • A minimum 10-year suspension with a possible lifetime suspension
  • A six-year mandatory ignition interlock device
Impaired driving penalties in Ontario

For failing a field sobriety test or testing in the WARN range (.05 to .079) or new drivers violating zero tolerance:

  • A three-day license suspension and a $250 penalty are assessed for the first offence. 
  • A second offence carries a seven-day suspension, $350 penalty, and a mandatory education program.
  • Subsequent offences carry a 30-day suspension, $450 penalty, mandatory treatment program, mandatory ignition interlock device for six months, and a mandatory medical evaluation.
  • If you have a BAC over .08 or refuse a test, the penalty is a 90-day suspension, seven-day vehicle impoundment, $550 penalty, $281 license reinstatement fee, mandatory treatment program, and mandatory ignition interlock device for at least six months

Quebec

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
Quebec’s impaired driving laws are in line with the Canadian criminal code but go further.
  • Up to 90 days and an immediate vehicle seizure for up to 30 days
  • You’ll receive a driving prohibition of at least one year
  • Your license is revoked for one to three years
  • You must complete an impaired driving program
  • An ignition interlock device is mandatory


The minimum financial penalties for a first offence are $1,750.
  • A minimum two-year prohibition
  • Up to five-year license revocation
  • Possible prison time
  • Varying vehicle use prohibition
  • A lifelong ignition interlock device are levied
  • A minimum two-year prohibition
  • Up to five-year license revocation
  • Possible prison time
  • Varying vehicle use prohibition
  • A lifelong ignition interlock device are levied
Impaired driving penalties in Quebec

Saskatchewan

How are the penalties different?After a 1st time offenceAfter a 2nd time offenceAfter a 3rd time offence
If you’ve been convicted of impaired driving in Saskatchewan, you’ll receive an indefinite license suspension until your case goes through the courts.

If you have a BAC under .16, your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. For BAC higher than .16, the impoundment term is 60 days. 
  • You’ll need to complete a mandatory education program
  • Pay a $1,250 penalty
  • You’ll move to -20 on the driver rating scale
  • If your BAC is over .16, the penalty increases by $1,000
  • For additional offences, the penalties are the same although the education courses increase in intensity
  • For additional offences, the penalties are the same although the education courses increase in intensity
Impaired driving penalties in Saskatchewan

An ignition interlock device will be mandatory for between one and ten years.

What is the .00 BAC restriction for young or new drivers?

Unfortunately, drunk driving is a far too common among young people. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25-year-olds in Canada? Alcohol and/or drugs being a factor in 55% of those crashes? Although that age group accounted for just 13.6% of car crashes among the Canadian population in 2010, they also accounted for almost 33.4% of impairment-related traffic deaths.

Zero and low BAC restrictions have been shown to have very positive results.

Nearly all provinces and territories have a .00% BAC restriction for young and new drivers as part of their Graduated Licensing Programs. A major limitation on many of these programs, however, is that the .00% BAC restriction is lifted when the driver completes the Graduated Licensing Program.

However, several provinces have extended the .00% BAC restriction beyond the framework of the Graduated Licensing Program.

Below is a table showing the minimum sentences if you are convicted:

OffencePenalty
1st timeA $1,000 fine and a 12-month driving prohibition
2nd time30 days of jail and a 24-month driving prohibition
3rd time or more120 days of jail and a 36-month driving prohibition
Penalties under the .00 BAC restrictions

A province is allowed to set up special ignition interlock device programs specifically to limit criminal driving prohibitions. Not all provinces have such specific programs. However, if they do, you can drive during their prohibition period with an interlock device, beginning as follows:

OffencePenalty
1st time3 months after the day of sentence
2nd time6 months after the day of sentence
3rd time or more12 months after the day of sentence
Interlock device penalties

Otherwise, driving while on a driving prohibition is a criminal offence.

Assumptions about drunk driving:

Here is a list of misconceptions about drunk driving:

  • Eating will lower your blood alcohol level.
  • Below the alcohol limit, I'm okay. No, it's not true. It depends on your body, but also on your state of fatigue that day and your health condition. A lot of factors come into play!
  • After 1 hour it is okay to drive: No. The alcohol in the blood stream does not disappear quickly! Try our tool, it will estimate the time it takes for alcohol to disappear from your body.
  • "I can drive if I live close by." It doesn't matter, you can still have an accident while driving even a few metres.

How many glasses of alcohol can I drink?

Test our BAC calculator at the top of the page. It will help you to assess your level of impairment. Insert your details into the tool: your weight and your consumption. After, you will know how long it will take for the alcohol to be eliminated from the body.

Drunk-driving limitIs is authorised
Below 80 mg or more per 100 ml
Above 80 mg or more per 100 ml
Drunk driving: which limits not to cross

Canadian law requires that you have car insurance in order to drive. Use our tool to get anonymous insurance quotes in just seconds.

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