If you receive a letter advising you that you could face a charge of fare evasion, you are advised to take immediate action. If you were to be found guilty, you would have a criminal record, which could be very damaging to both your career and your reputation. It can also mean that you may be denied a visa or lose the right to settle in the UK if you an overseas citizen.
Even if you made a genuine mistake in buying the wrong ticket or sitting in the wrong seat or going further than you should have done on a train or coach, you could still be convicted. As well as receiving a criminal conviction, you could also be fined up to £1,000.
At Solicitors Near Me, we have a pool of expert fare evasion lawyers who are able to take steps on your behalf to avoid a court case. We hand pick the solicitors that we work with for their expertise, their strong success rate and for the high level of service they provide.
They understand the severity of a fare evasion conviction and will do all they can to ensure you do not face a trial.
What Is Fare Evasion?
Fare evasion is travelling on public transport without the right ticket for the journey. This could be because someone:
- Did not buy a ticket
- Has a ticket that does not cover the whole journey
- Has lost their ticket
- Was in a part of the train that they were not entitled to be in
- Used someone else’s ticket or pass
- Has a discounted ticket but is not entitled to this
Fare Evasion Inspectors
You may be approached by a ticket inspector who will advise you that your ticket is not valid. In some cases, you may be given an on-the-spot fine.
In other cases, you may receive a letter advising you that the transport company is considering bringing legal action against you.
If you receive a letter, you are strongly advised to speak to a solicitor straight away. It is important not to ignore the letter.
How Can Our Fare Evasion Lawyers Help You?
Our fare evasion lawyers can contact the transport company on your behalf to try and make a deal that will avoid the risk of a criminal conviction.
They are experienced in dealing with cases where individuals have been charged with being fare evaders and will put together a strong statement on your behalf, asking if the matter can be dealt with in another way. You may then be able to pay a fine instead of facing a court case.
What Happens If You Are Accused Of Fare Evasion?
If you receive a letter about fare evasion, you will be given a deadline by which to reply with your details and whether or not you admit the offence.
It is crucial not to miss this deadline, which is likely to be only around 10-14 days. If you ask us to connect you with an local fare evasion lawyer, we will find you an expert to step in on your behalf and advise you of your options.
hey will go through the circumstances of what has happened with you, as well as looking at any reasons why it might not be in the public interest to prosecute you.
A statement can be drafted setting out any mitigating circumstances and asking the transport authority to consider dealing with matters in a different way.
Our solicitors have a high level of success in avoiding fare evasion prosecution for their clients, particularly in respect of single offences and where the amount involved could be seen to be low. Transport authorities may be more keen to prosecute if they feel that there is a risk the offence could have been repeated, for example, where someone borrows another person’s rail pass or purchases a discounted ticket to which they are not entitled.
In some cases where other offences are suspected, you may be invited to attend an interview with the rail company or their agent, if they are using one. You are strongly advised to speak to a solicitor first. Our fare evasion lawyers can make sure that you are thoroughly prepared and that you know what to expect, what to say and what not to say.
They will be able to attend the interview with you and ensure that the rail company do not exceed their authority at any point. If they do, this could be grounds to ask them to drop a prosecution. They can also use the interview to ask that the matter be dealt with by way of a fine instead of a prosecution.
Fare Evasion Hearing
If your case has reached the hearing stage and you have not spoken to a solicitor, you can still ask for representation at this point. We can provide you with a lawyer who will be able to go to the hearing with you. Again, they will ensure that the correct procedure is followed and check to see whether there are any grounds on which they could ask for the case to be dropped.
What Are The Penalties For Fare Evasion?
If you are convicted of fare evasion, the court can give you a fine of up to £1,000. It is often the case that having a criminal record is more damaging than the fine. For professionals working in some regulated areas, a criminal record may be very problematic.
Where fare evasion is dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice or negotiated settlement, the amount paid is likely to be around £100, substantially less than the potential fine that could be imposed by the court.
Contact Local Fare Evasion Lawyers
At Solicitors Near Me, we can connect you with one of our highly experienced fare evasion lawyers who can work on your behalf to deal with an allegation of fare evasion. Even if your case has already been listed for court and you have received a summons, it is not too late to speak to a solicitor.