Fare Evasion costs rail companies millions of pounds each year ,and both the companies and government are determined to do something about it . Since the Joint Prosecuting Protocol( July 2015) prosecutors and rail companies view persistent fare evasion as fraud and prosecute accordingly .
In February 2017 , the Government following a Consultation announced a 'wholesale shift to access justice digitally , this will allow those facing a ,currently ,limited number of supposedly low level criminal offences to be dealt with on line .One of these offences is fare evasion.
An individual facing an allegation of fare evasion only has to click onto the website , enter a guilty plea and receive a pre determined fine and compensation order AND a criminal conviction .
The Government stresses that this system is entirely voluntary and is NOT suitable for those who wish the prosecuting authorities to take MITIGATING circumstances into account
Let's look at this carefully ... a conviction for fare evasion ( even one prosecuted under the Railways Act bylaws) is considered by most employers and professional regulatory bodies as convictions of dishonesty which can lead to immediate dismissal and or/ professional sanction .
It's accurate to say that in time these offences become 'spent ' and it can be unlawful for employers to ask if a potential candidate has a criminal conviction , but unfortunately that doesn't stop them .
Many employers insert clauses in employment contracts that stipulate that an employee must notify them of any pending and actual criminal prosecution . Failure to do so can lead to immediate dismissal .
Certain jobs demand enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks , and an employer will take such a conviction into consideration when making the decision to recruit .
Further in our experience ,every individual facing a such an allegation has mitigating circumstances that can be used to dissuade the rail authority from prosecuting , it's a question of identifying the mitigation and putting it to the authority in an attractive way .
Most of the rail authorities take a 'firm but fair ' approach , and the majority take a very firm approach to persistent fare evasion and /or the abuse of privilege or free travel passes .
We successfully defended the leading case in this field , which involved a Senior Financier who was , rather inaccurately , accused of fare evasion spanning many years . It attracted Nationwide publicity ,led by The Daily Mail and The Times and prompted the drafting of the Joint Prosecuting Protocol in July 2015.
We managed to dissuade the Police from prosecuting our client ,after raising legal argument .
Since 2014 we have successfully defended hundreds of clients , most of whom have come from business or professional backgrounds , who simply cannot afford to have a criminal conviction or the risk to their employment or profession .We have defended doctors , nurses , lawyers , University professors , social workers ,bankers , accountants , financiers ,journalists , university students , charity trustees ,teachers to name but a few .
Anybody who has FCA authorisation would have good reason to worry ,because this organisation takes a particularly draconian approach to these offences .
We have years of experience when it comes to defending FCA Regulatory and disciplinary proceedings .
It can affect immigration status ,your ability to raise loans or credit or even to get insurance .
What should you do if stopped by a Ticket Inspector?
First of all stay calm ... don't make up a silly or false explanation .... answer their questions honestly and in full .
Remember they are not trained police officers and they can often make important mistakes when noting responses and gathering evidence , which you should scrutinise carefully for accuracy .
Most rail authorities ( but by no means all ) will write to you within a few weeks , and send a letter entitled Notice of Intended Prosecution ,... please do NOT ignore this letter . It's vital that you respond promptly and it's a good time to consult a genuinely experienced solicitor.
This is your opportunity to try and deflect the prosecution and to persuade the prosecution to agree to an out of court settlement .
If you ignore the original letter then the next correspondence that you will receive will be a Court Summons .
How can we help you?
As highly experienced and successful criminal ,fraud and regulatory specialist defence lawyers , we adopt a legalistic approach to these cases .
We have established working relationships with most of the Country's rail authorities and understand immediately what mitigation will appeal to the prosecutors .
Our approach genuinely works in the overwhelming majority of cases , one of our colleagues has only lost one case in three years and was the lawyer who defended the leading case in this field , as mentioned earlier .
How much will it cost?
We do charge , and give an accurate estimate of the range of legal costs involved from the outset .
We do not offer a fixed fee basis of costs , this is because most cases take a great deal of time and care . We want to do the very best that we can for you , because we fully understand what is at risk for you .
We are a legal business ,and as solicitors sell our time and expertise .
Some cases involve quite complex mitigation and that can take time .
Currently most rail companies when assessing the cost of an out of court settlement will calculate as follows:
The cost of the missing rail fares and a contribution towards their investigative and legal costs .It is still a relatively small price to pay when your professional future is at stake .
If you feel that we can help you please contact us on 02073872032 or use our online enquiry service.