By Shereen Siewert

A 35-year-old Wausau man convicted of his fifth drunken driving offense will avoid prison time if he successfully completes three years of probation and participates in OWI Court, court records show.

Codey R. Opper was charged following an early morning July 4 traffic stop on South 9th Avenue in Wausau. On Aug. 30, Circuit Judge Greg Strasser sentenced Opper to two years in prison followed by two years extended supervision. But the sentence was “imposed and stayed” for a three-year probation term, which means if Opper fails to follow the rules of his supervision and the OWI Court program he could then be sent to prison.

The Marathon County OWI Court serves Marathon County residents with felony fourth, fifth and sixth convictions who suffer from alcohol dependence issues. Mental health issues are also addressed. The average time to complete the program is 18 months. Participants plead guilty and agree to participate in the program while on probation. Program completion is a condition of probation and the program is in lieu of prison.

According to the criminal complaint officers were dispatched at about 2 a.m. July 4 to 1103 Sherman Street in regard to a suspicious vehicle report. The man who called police reported noticing a vehicle parked in front of his home with a burned out tail lamp.

When an officer arrived he observed the vehicle leaving east on Sherman Street before turning south South 9th Avenue. The vehicle was displaying an expired temporary registration along with another license plate in the rear window, also expired, police said.

Police stopped the vehicle, driven by Opper, who allegedly had a Bloody Mary in a cup stashed in the door pocket of the driver’s side door. Opper, whose license was suspended indefinitely for insurance cancellation and for not having an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in his vehicle, refused field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a chemical test of his blood.

Police did obtain a blood sample after obtaining a warrant.

As part of his sentence, Opper will spend six months in the Marathon County Jail and must maintain absolute sobriety from alcohol. He must comply with all terms of the county’s OWI Court and undergo counseling. Opper was also ordered to pay a $2,452 fine.

He was given 45 days of credit for time served.