Federal penalties for impaired driving

Learn about federally impaired driving limits and penalties.

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  • Federal penalties for impaired driving


If you are found guilty of driving over the criminal limits for alcohol or drugs, you can face serious criminal penalties in addition to any provincial penalties that apply.

  • Alcohol

    Federal limits

    In all Canadian provinces, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 0.08. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more is a criminal (federal) offence and the penalties are severe.

    Provincial limits

    In Alberta, and in most other Canadian jurisdictions, if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.079, you will also face provincial impaired driving penalties.

    Mandatory alcohol screening

    Federal legislation for mandatory alcohol screening authorizes police officers to request a breath test for BAC from any driver they lawfully stop.

    Police officers can demand a preliminary breath sample to test for alcohol without reasonable suspicion the driver has alcohol in their body.

    Sober or not, a driver who refuses to provide a breath sample can be criminally charged with refusal to provide a sample. Failure to comply is considered a criminal offence and could result in a criminal charge as well as any applicable provincial penalties.

    For more information on the new legislation and mandatory alcohol screening, visit Justice Canada’s Question and Answers page.

  • Drugs

    If police determine you are driving while impaired by any drug, including illegal drugs, cannabis, prescription and over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences, including federal criminal charges and penalties and provincial sanctions.

    Penalties for criminal-level impaired driving offences can be found in Part VIII.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.


If you are found guilty of criminal-level impaired driving, you may be required to:

See your Notice of Suspension for full suspension and reinstatement details.