Transport for London (TFL) can be aggressive in pursuit of those they believe are guilty of fare evasion. If you have been notified that they or any other transport company are intending to charge you with fare evasion, you are advised to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.
If you are convicted of fare evasion, you will have a criminal record and you could face a fine of up to £1,000. A criminal record could potentially end your career and will be searchable on enhanced DBS checks.
At Solicitors Near Me, we work with a range of expert fare evasion solicitors who are often able to help clients avoid a criminal conviction for fare evasion. We can connect you with a local fare evasion solicitor in your area who will be able to advise you on the best course of action and how to protect your rights.
The solicitors we recommend are chosen because of their legal expertise and their in-depth knowledge of how transport companies operate as well as the high level of service they provide.
What Happens If You Are Charged With Transport For London Fare Evasion?
If you are stopped by a Transport for London officer and accused of TFL fare evasion, you may be given a fine on the spot. Alternatively, you could receive a letter from Transport for London warning you that they are considering legal proceedings. This is the point at which you should speak to a solicitor if you wish to avoid prosecution for fare evasion.
The letter will give you a period of time in which to respond, often ten days. You will need to confirm your personal details and let them know whether or not you admit to carrying out the offence.
We can put you in touch with a solicitor who will be able to advise you of your options. They will be able to write a letter of representation on your behalf and make an offer to deal with the matter out of court, so that a criminal conviction can be avoided.
Fare Evasion TFL Prosecution
Once you have responded with your details, Transport for London will decide what action to take. You could still simply receive a fine. However, it is open to them to bring a criminal prosecution.
Fare evasion is a strict liability offence, which means that even if you made a genuine mistake, you are still likely to be found guilty.
Prosecution for any type of fare evasion is possible, such as Oyster card offences. TFL are particularly likely to bring cases that they believe to be deliberate, such as having a ticket which does not cover the whole journey, having someone else’s railcard or using a railcard that has expired. They will also often pursue cases against those they believe have committed an offence in respect of a more expensive travel card, such as a weekly or monthly pass, a Freedom pass or a Zip Card.
Fare Evasion Law
Fare evasion is travelling on public transport having failed to pay the correct fare. It can be prosecuted in a number of ways, including:
- Under the Regulation of the Railways Act 1889;
- Under the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981;
- Under the railway byelaws ; and
- Under the Fraud Act 2006
The Railways Act makes it an offence to intentionally travel on the railway without having paid the correct fare.
Railway byelaws make it an offence to enter a train for the purpose of travel without a valid ticket. No intention to avoid paying is necessary, it is enough that you had the opportunity to purchase a ticket but did not do so.
Byelaws also make it an offence to fail to show a valid ticket when asked or to be seated in a seat or part of a train where a notice indicates that it is reserved for ticket holders of a particular class. It is also an offence to borrow a ticket from someone.
Transport for London tend to prosecute using the railway byelaws.
A number of transport companies employ Transport Investigations Limited to deal with matters on their behalf. They are authorised as an agent to impose fines and bring prosecutions.
Notice Of Intended Prosecution For Fare Evasion
If you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution for fare evasion, you should take steps to try and deal with the matter promptly and without going to court. If you leave matters, you are likely to be taken to court and convicted.
You can ask a solicitor to put together a letter setting out strong reasons why it would not be in the public interest to prosecute you. This can often be successful in de-escalating the matter and you may then simply be required to pay a fine.
If matters go further, you will receive a court summons with a date for your hearing. If you have not spoken to a solicitor by this stage, you should still do so. While it is better to deal with matters early on, it is not too late to ask a fare evasion lawyer to try and negotiate matters on your behalf.
In some cases, there may be a defence to the charge. For example, it may be possible to show that it was not possible to purchase a ticket at the station on the day that you travelled.
Your solicitor can advise you on the best course of action and how to enter your plea.
Do You Get A Criminal Record For Transport For London Fare Evasion?
If you plead guilty or you are found guilty of fare evasion at trial, you will receive a criminal conviction. For some professionals in regulated sectors, this can mean that they are unable to carry on in their job, for example, where a clean record is required.
It will also usually need to be disclosed on visa and immigration applications.
It will show up on enhanced DBS checks for 11 years and you will have a criminal record for life.
Wherever possible, you are strongly advised to take early action to try and avoid your case reaching court. Our expert fare evasion solicitors have a proven track record of success in negotiating charges down to fines and will be happy to help you.
Contact Local Fare Evasion Solicitors
At Solicitors Near Me, we have a range of fare evasion experts who routinely deal with fare evasion charges. They understand both the law and the way in which transport companies, including Transport for London, work.