If you have been accused of fare evasion and you are facing prosecution, you will receive a criminal record if you plead guilty or if you are found guilty. A criminal record can be very damaging to your career and reputation, particularly if you are a professional. In the worst case, you may lose your job if you work in a regulated sector. If you are applying for a job, you will usually be required to disclose any criminal convictions you have received which is likely to negatively impact your chances.
At Solicitors Near Me we work with a range of expert solicitors for fare evasion who have a high level of success in preventing fare evasion convictions. We choose the lawyers we recommend for their expertise as well as for the excellent standard of service they provide.
Our fare evasion solicitors understand the procedures used by transport authorities, which are not always straightforward. Train and other transport companies have the discretion to decide whether to bring a criminal prosecution or not. In some cases, they may simply issue a Penalty Fare Notice requiring you to pay a fine. You will not receive a criminal record in this event.
Alternatively, they may issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution or Single Justice Procedure Notice advising you that they mean to seek a conviction. It is crucial that you do not ignore this or you will be found guilty in your absence.
We can connect you with expert fare evasion solicitors who will make sure that you have the best possible chance of avoiding a fare evasion criminal record.
When Can You Be Accused Of Fare Evasion?
You can be accused of fare evasion in a range of situations, including when:
- You do not have a valid ticket
- Your ticket does not cover your whole journey
- You have used someone else’s discount travel card, such as an Oyster Card or Freedom Pass
- You travelled in a train carriage that you were not entitled to be in, such as first class
- You are travelling at a time not covered by your ticket
- You have purchased a discounted ticket but you are not entitled to this
Can You Be Found Guilty Of Fare Evasion If It Was An Honest Mistake?
The short answer is yes. Fare evasion is a strict liability offence, which means that what you believed is not relevant. If you did not have the right ticket, you are liable to be convicted of fare evasion.
However, in some circumstances, a solicitor may be able to put forward representations before your case reaches court to try and persuade the transport authority not to continue with a prosecution. Once you have instructed them, they will go through all of the circumstances with you and pick out any key points that may help your situation.
They will be able to write to the transport authority explaining the circumstances and suggesting where possible that bringing a prosecution is not proportionate and not in the public interest.
If you are prosecuted under the Regulation of Railways Ac5 1889, the transport authority will need to prove that you intended to avoid paying the fare. If you are prosecuted under a railway bye-law, this is not necessary. Provided you had the opportunity to purchase a ticket before you got on the train you can be found guilty.
Will You Be Prosecuted For Fare Evasion?
The transport authority may decide to prosecute you, although they also have the option of issuing a Penalty Fare Notice requiring you to pay a sum to settle the matter.
If you are told that you may be prosecuted, you should move quickly to deal with the matter as there are short deadlines in which to act, sometimes as little as seven days. At this point, there is still an opportunity to persuade the transport authority not to bring a prosecution. It is important not to miss this chance.
You are strongly advised to speak to a fare evasion solicitor immediately you receive communication from the transport authority. Fare evasion solicitors have a good understanding of how to put forward the best possible case to persuade the transport authority to proceed. If they are able to have the matter dropped or dealt with by way of a financial penalty, you will avoid a criminal conviction.
How Long Does A Criminal Record For Fare Evasion Last?
If you receive a conviction for fare evasion, you will have a criminal record. This will show up in enhanced DBS checks for 11 years. In addition, if you apply for a job, you will usually be asked whether you have a criminal record.
For some regulated professions, a criminal record is a bar to entry.
Because of the severity of the possible long-term effects of a criminal record, you are strongly advised to do all you can to resolve the matter without a prosecution.
Penalties For Fare Evasion
If you are convicted of fare evasion, you could receive a fine of up to £1,000 plus costs and compensation.
If the matter is settled by way of a Penalty Fare Notice, the amount will be substantially less, often £100 plus costs.
For many people, the biggest penalty is potentially being given a criminal record.
Train Fare Evasion First Offence
There is no real advantage to your fare evasion being a first offence as the transport authorities will not usually take this into account. If you have avoided paying fares several times however, you are more likely to face prosecution.
Contact Local Fare Evasion Solicitors
At Solicitors Near Me we have a strong network of fare evasion lawyers with a strong success rate in dealing with fare evasion charges. We can put you in touch with a local expert who will be able to take on your case and start work at once to try and have the allegations withdrawn.