Law enforcement often uses abbreviations for drug and alcohol-related crimes that may be confusing to the general public. If you or somebody you know is guilty of one of these crimes, it is important to know exactly what the conviction is. So if you have no idea what the difference between a DWI and an MIP is, here's some information that may help.


Blood alcohol content, also known as blood alcohol concentration or blood alcohol level, is a commonly used metric that reveals how much alcohol is in an individual’s blood. If you have a BAC of .15, it means that 0.15% of your bloodstream is composed of alcohol. While the legal blood alcohol content limit across the United States is .08, there are varying rules and penalties for higher BAC levels from state to state. For example, you can get a DWI for driving with a BAC between .04 and .08 in Maryland. Rehab centers are set up to help people avoid these charges.

If you are concerned about your BAC level being too high, keep in mind that your levels depend on a variety of factors. Scientists have found that weight, gender, age and food in your stomach can all play a major factor. It is also extremely important to pace yourself if you are concerned about being over the legal limit.


The terms driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated have different meanings in different states. Some states use either use DUI or DWI to describe drunken or impaired driving. However, there are some states that use both terms. This can mean two different things:

  1. DWI refers to driving while intoxicated due to alcohol, while DUI is used when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  2. DWI is used when the driver is impaired by either drugs, alcohol or a different substance. DUI is used for driving under the influence of alcohol.


Drunk and disorderly charges, also known as public intoxication, are given out when a person is evidently drunk or under the influence of drugs in public. These laws are put into place to prevent people from disturbing the public and keep people from hurting themselves or others. Be careful because in many states, you do not have to be drunk or high to get these charges. Behaving in such a manner is enough to be convicted. Most states consider D&Ds to be misdemeanors.


For minor in possession, in some states referred to as possession of alcohol under the legal age (PAULA), laws are put into place to prevent minors from buying and publicly possessing alcohol. These laws are enforced by the government to educate minors about the dangers of drinking and driving, increase dependency treatment for minors, and to get minors involved in community service. While all states have slightly different laws for MIP, here are a few of the most common punishments:

  • Loss of driver’s license for a period of time
  • Community service hours
  • Fines
  • Enrollment in alcohol education and substance abuse programs

Forms of Treatment

Some of the most common treatment programs for drug and alcohol-related addiction typically use abbreviations and acronyms as well. Here are some of the more popular treatment methods that you may hear about:

AA: Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that people use to overcome addiction and chemical dependency. The AA website describes the website as a "fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism." The program has no dues or fees, and prides itself on being inclusive to anyone who wants to stop drinking.

IOP: Intensive outpatient programs are primary treatment programs that typically consist of mental health counseling and organized addiction treatment. These programs only take up 10 to 12 hours in a given week, so they do not disrupt the patient’s everyday life. Most of the program takes place in a group setting.

NA: Narcotics Anonymous is a program similar to AA, except that the focus is on the recovery from addiction. The organization believes that the use of drugs and alcohol is a symptom of the disease of addiction.

SOS: Secular Organizations for Sobriety are a network of non-profit addiction recovery groups. Unlike many other programs, they completely separate religion from the recovery process. SOS does not endorse sponsor/sponsee relationships, but they do respect recovery in any successful form.