Prosecutions for fare evasion are on the increase. Such prosecutions are regularly brought by Railway companies from across the United Kingdom.
Railway & Transport Fare Evasion Solicitors
Criminal Prosecutions, until recently, have been relatively infrequent and in the majority of cases if someone had travelled without a valid ticket and there was an opportunity to buy one they would ordinarily have received a penalty fare or been issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice.
However, 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.
The prosecution authorities are also taking a more hard line approach to matters of fare evasion and prosecutions are routinely bought under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Fraud Act 2006.
Prosecutions are brought if the prosecuting authorities suspect an individual of having deliberately avoided paying a fare.
An individual might be accused of travelling with intent to avoid paying a fare if they:
- Did not buy a ticket and travel without a ticket
- Deliberately avoid a ticket inspector
- Travel on a ticket issued to another person
- Intentionally travel further than the ticket allows them to
- Jump over or deliberately pass through ticket barriers without paying
The list above is not exclusive and there are other circumstances where prosecutions may follow.
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 online. 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.
The approach to prosecuting fare evasion has been the subject of recent high publicity cases where individuals and in particular professionals have been prosecuted for travelling on the railways for a number of years without a valid ticket/travel card. This has resulted in prosecutions under the Railway Regulations Act and linked civil proceedings for the recovery of monies for fares avoided over a considerable period of time.
The consequences of a conviction for fare evasion can have disastrous consequences for all individuals and in particular professionals for whom convictions would result in notifications to their professional & regulatory bodies of any convictions of any offences involving dishonesty.
With the stakes as high as they are it is imperative that anyone facing prosecution for fare evasion receives expert and specialist advice at an early stage of proceedings and at Lewis Nedas Law we are able to provide that thorough and comprehensive advice.
If prosecutions are brought by the railways it is imperative that individuals seek advice on the bringing of those proceedings. It is often necessary to make robust and specific written representations to the prosecuting authorities prior to a court appearance and invite the authorities based on the specific circumstances of an individual’s case that as an alternative to a prosecution an individual could enter into a written agreement not to repeat the conduct alleged and to pay the costs of the prosecution to date.
The entering into such an agreement avoids the case proceeding to court and crucially for the individual stops the possibility of them receiving a criminal record for an offence of fare evasion.
What should I 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?
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. We are specialists in this area of law and have dealt with prosecutions brought by the major bus and train companies all over the UK. We are familiar with their policies and have in depth knowledge of the approach to take with each authority that prosecutes a range of offences connected with fare evasion.
We are further specialists in advising individuals who are likely to be banned or disqualified from practice and/or facing regulatory (eg FCA or another professional body) and employment or disciplinary proceedings as a result of a successful prosecution.
Our lawyers are experts when defending cases that do end up in court and proceed to trial. We employ specialist counsel with in depth knowledge of the defences available to individuals facing these proceedings and are able to offer tailored advice to the individual needs of each client.
Lewis Nedas Law is able to deal with any fare evasion enquiry and we offer our services at competitive rates and/or fixed fees. You can be assured you will be advised by an experienced solicitor who will deal with your case throughout.
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.
Fare Evasion Legal Advice
Don’t dismiss this type of proceedings as inconsequential, in fact quite to the contrary. These offences are regarded as dishonesty offences and if convicted you will have a criminal record which you will have to declare for insurance, employment and even visa purposes. Call us on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.
Our Specialist Lawyers
Contact Fare Evasion Solicitors London, UK
With offices in Camden and Mayfair, we advise and represent individuals throughout London and across the UK. For further information or to speak directly to a solicitor please telephone us on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form.