Eau Claire (WQOW) - A large grant is helping Eau Claire County overhaul a program for second, third, and fourth time drunk drivers
Eau Claire County was just awarded a $159,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The money will be used to redesign its intervention and treatment programs for misdemeanor OWI offenders.
Under the old program a $250 fee was charged for anyone seeking treatment and intervention programs in order to have their OWI sentence reduced.
Under the redesign that fee is gone and programming will be offered before a defendant is sentenced. That will speed up the process and the county hopes it will see fewer repeat offenders.
"We're speeding that intervention up by four or five months compared to other jurisdictions,” said Tiana Glenna collaborating council coordinator. “So we hope that those second, third, fourth, OWIs don't get another charge and make it a third, fourth, fifth or sixth, OWI, that will cost the taxpayers more money, and possibly hurt somebody in the long run."
This is a one time grant to help with the initial cost. If the program proves successful the hope is to seek funds to continue it from the county board.