Underage X-Games fans appear in court | AspenTimes.com

Underage X-Games fans appear in court

In what’s become a post X Games, Aspen tradition, a group of youngsters cited for drinking alcohol or having fake IDs at the popular January event appeared in court Tuesday.

The group of nine, all younger than 21 — many with one or both parents present — filed in to the Pitkin County Court proceeding just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and took their seats. Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan first spoke to all of them together.

“You’re here today because you got a ticket at the X Games,” she said. “It will be the same plea offer in all cases.”

While Bryan told the group they had the right to hire an attorney for their cases, she said they would all be offered an opportunity to take advantage of a diversion program offered by the District Attorney’s Office.

That means that those over the age of 18 will have to take an online alcohol education class that costs about $60 and stay out of trouble for three months, she said. Provided that is done, the District Attorney’s Office will dismiss the case, and offenders could have the opportunity later to petition the court to seal the case, Bryan said.

Five teens younger than 18 — including two 14-year-olds — were referred to Aspen’s YouthZone program. Those kids will undergo an alcohol assessment, have to take a substance education class and perform eight hours of community service, said Pitkin County Court prosecutor Sarah Talbott.

Cam Daniel, a YouthZone case manager, said the community service takes place on Saturdays with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Roaring Fork Valley Outdoor Volunteers, Glenwood Recycle Center and others. Those younger than 18 also will have to stay out of trouble for three months for the case to be dismissed, he said.

Area law enforcement officers have said they cited 11 underage kids for minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana at this year’s Winter X Games, which took place during the last weekend of January at Buttermilk Mountain. In addition, they said officials from the Colorado Department of Revenue handed out 20 more such violations to underage attendees.

However, Talbott said a total of 24 underage kids were summoned to court Tuesday, while 26 more are scheduled to be in court next Tuesday. Some did not show up while others made prior arrangements, she said. Most of those cited were from Colorado, though others were from Wyoming, Washington, Oklahoma and California, Talbott said.

All of those who are offered the diversion program are first-time offenders, Talbott said. Anyone cited previously cannot take advantage of that program.

Last year, between 80 and 100 underage X Games fans were cited for possession of alcohol or marijuana or having fake identification at the event, she said.

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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