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missylow

Being taken to Court for Fare Evasion! PLEASE HELP!

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Hi,

 

I am due to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on 7th August for fare evasion. I was travelling with an Oyster card in zone 8 and only had zones 1 and 2 on my card. I thought I had beeped in but hadn't (I did have enough on my Oyster card on pre-pay). I explained this to the guard, but he read me my rights and gave me a formal interview on the train.

 

He asked me to pay the £50 penalty charge (which in hindsight I wish I had done!) but I explained I didn't have that amount on me. Incidentally he asked me to sign the interview which I did pretty much without reading it as I was scared, intimidated and embarrassed. I have been sent a transcript and the guard has written that he asked me to pay the FARE not the penalty fare and that I said I didn't have that amount on me which of course doesn't look great!

 

Also, he informed me that because I had zones 1 & 2 on my card I would not have to pay the full fare when I went through the barriers at Euston as Euston is in zone 1. I told him I wasn't aware of this and to be honest didn't think it was a huge issue if I didn't beep in as I would be charged the full fare when i went through the barriers at Euston. I didn't realise this would be avoided and got a zone 1 & 2 because I use the buses and the tubes in these zones and felt it was a cheaper way to use the underground.

 

I am unsure whether to just plead guilty and take the £100 fine now rather than going to court. I know that there have certainly been other occasions where I have forgotton having checked my usage of my oyster card online to beep in and I assume this isn't going to help my case.

 

What are the chances of me being found not guilty if I try to go to court? I am not great at arguing and don't have enough money really to pay for a solicitor as I am a Masters student. I have never had any form of conviction or warning in my life. I am 28 and work for the NHS - I am really worried that this conviction will show up on a CRB form as a conviction for dishonesty and that it will affect the rest of my career, which involves working with vulnerable children and adults with disabilities.

 

Please can someone give me sound advice as to what I should do here. I would be really grateful. I know I have been incredibly stupid.

 

Thanks

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Post moved to the relevant forum :)


Any typos spelling mistakes are due to leprechauns in my keyboard they move the letters around sometimes (amended just for Bookie)

 

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I'm confused...On the one hand the Revenue guy is issuing you with a Penalty Fare, yet on the other, he's reporting you for offences. You can't do both...Maybe I misunderstood!

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Deleted.

Edited by SRPO

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I'm confused...On the one hand the Revenue guy is issuing you with a Penalty Fare, yet on the other, he's reporting you for offences. You can't do both...Maybe I misunderstood!

 

I think that there is a small element of confusion in referring to a Penalty Fare here, but if an inspector starts to issue a PF and in the process it is revealed that other action is warranted, he / she is at liberty to cancel the notice and make out a report for prosecution.

 

SRPO is right in your choices, but I have one question that I'd like answered please MissyLow and perhaps we can give you a little more advice in preparation for your Court appearance.

 

What have you actually been charged with?

 

On the Summons, does it say something like:

 

'that you did travel on a railway without having previously paid the fare due and with intent to avoid that fare contrary to Section 5.3.a of The Regulation of Railways Act 1889.'

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c) ask them to settle out of court.

 

If you choose © you will need to agree a figure and show a very good reason why it would not be in the public interest to prosecute you.

 

SRPO, could you advise from your experience, any examples of the kind of reasons which might be considered an acceptable basis not to prosecute?

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OC puts it better than I could:

That will depend on your response when you get any first letter from the rail company. Your admission at the time may encourage the TOC prosecutors to go straight to Summons, but they will often write to you for an explanation of your actions first.

 

Given the detail of your original posting here, I suggest most rail companies will be satisfied that a prosecution is warranted and the issue of a Summons is likely.

 

Most importantly, when you get any letter or Summons, don't ignore it.

 

Write to the office that send you the letter explaining that you:

 

regret your very stupid action in attempting to leave without paying.

 

I can only suggest that you state something along the lines of:

 

that this was completely out of character and that you have no real explanation other than to say that it was a momentary act of silliness for which you are extremely remorseful.

 

Your letter should include a request that you be allowed to recompense the rail company for the fare and their reasonable administration costs so as to settle the matter without the need to trouble a Magistrates Court and should include an undertaking not to repeat the offence.

 

Say that you understand that what you did was wrong, but that the likelihood of a conviction for this first (and last ) offence would have a detrimental affect on your employment. Ask the rail company to recognise that the likely damage to your career might be wholly disproportunate to the level of offence committed.

 

If that doesn't work and you still get a Summons, don't ignore it. You can use exactly the same response if you are entering a 'guilty' plea by post.

 

This will allow the Court to dispose of the matter without you having to attend. You would then be ordered to pay a fine, a victim surcharge, compensation of the fare and probably have to pay a proportion of the costs that the rail company will claim.

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But doesn't a guilty plea mean that you will automatically get a conviction and therefore a criminal record?

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Deleted.

Edited by SRPO

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If that doesn't work and you still get a Summons, don't ignore it. You can use exactly the same response if you are entering a 'guilty' plea by post.

 

My point was: why does it matter what you put in your response when you are making a guilty plea?

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My point was: why does it matter what you put in your response when you are making a guilty plea?

Beacuse although you are admitting what you done was wrong, there might be circumstances you wish the Magistrate to be aware of....maybe it'll make them give you less of a fine? :-D

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thanks guys this was all really helpful. I have received a summons but is it too late to now write to them and beg that they not prosecute me on the grounds that this was a first offence and a moment of silliness etc and that it will have a disproportionate effect on my career or is it now too late to do so as the arrainment date has been set for four days time?

 

Thanks :)

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No, send your letter by recorded delivery today and copy it to the legal advisor at the Magistrates Court.

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should I still sign the guilty plea? I think I have to send that back or do I hold fire on that one and ask for a later arrainment date?

 

Thanks so much for the advice

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Hi - my original post was as below and I have had some great feedback information. However, I have now updated with a bit more info and was wondering if I could get some further advice from those in the know?

 

Thank you :))

 

ORIGINAL POST:

 

I am due to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on 7th August for fare evasion. I was travelling with an Oyster card in zone 8 and only had zones 1 and 2 on my card. I thought I had beeped in but hadn't (I did have enough on my Oyster card on pre-pay). I explained this to the guard, but he read me my rights and gave me a formal interview on the train.

 

He asked me to pay the £50 penalty charge (which in hindsight I wish I had done!) but I explained I didn't have that amount on me. Incidentally he asked me to sign the interview which I did pretty much without reading it as I was scared, intimidated and embarrassed. I have been sent a transcript and the guard has written that he asked me to pay the FARE not the penalty fare and that I said I didn't have that amount on me which of course doesn't look great!

 

Also, he informed me that because I had zones 1 & 2 on my card I would not have to pay the full fare when I went through the barriers at Euston as Euston is in zone 1. I told him I wasn't aware of this and to be honest didn't think it was a huge issue if I didn't beep in as I would be charged the full fare when i went through the barriers at Euston. I didn't realise this would be avoided and got a zone 1 & 2 because I use the buses and the tubes in these zones and felt it was a cheaper way to use the underground.

 

I am unsure whether to just plead guilty and take the £100 fine now rather than going to court. I know that there have certainly been other occasions where I have forgotton having checked my usage of my oyster card online to beep in and I assume this isn't going to help my case.

 

What are the chances of me being found not guilty if I try to go to court? I am not great at arguing and don't have enough money really to pay for a solicitor as I am a Masters student. I have never had any form of conviction or warning in my life. I am 28 and work for the NHS - I am really worried that this conviction will show up on a CRB form as a conviction for dishonesty and that it will affect the rest of my career, which involves working with vulnerable children and adults with disabilities.

 

Please can someone give me sound advice as to what I should do here. I would be really grateful. I know I have been incredibly stupid.

 

OK, so I have now decided to plead not guilty. I am a full time student and don't have a lot of means anyway so I hope that will be taken into account if I'm found guilty anyway. Secondly, I can prove good character (volunteering, master's degree, raising money for charity, good family, first offence etc).

 

Also, I have been informed by Oyster that they cannot keep records for longer than 8 weeks for the purposes of data protection. Therefore they do not have a record of what occurred other than what the inspector has said (according to them - I don't know whether they have kept a print out or whether they are allowed to).

 

I have a signed witness form from the inspector at the time which states that he asked me: "do you have any means to pay for your rail journey today?" and that I said "no, not the amount". Actually he asked me whether I had the £50 to pay the penalty fare, not the actual fare which I would have been happy to pay. However, I signed this as a true record but I only scanned it as I felt embarrassed and scared by the inspector and signed it quickly (the guy read my my rights and interviewed me on the train in full view of everyone).

 

I want to refute this as a true record (I agree with the rest of the statement but not "do you have any means to pay for your rail journey today?". The reason I answered "no, not the amount" (what I acually said was "no, not THAT amount"). is it possible to refute that statement?

 

I gave him all my details was co-operative and I believe that I did have enough money on my oyster card at the time to pay, although apparently I can't prove that. I can however show that I had enough on my bank card at the time to pay the fare.

 

Further, I didn't hear from them for almost three months. When I hadn't heard anything after 1 month I contacted them by phone, by email and wrote to them (all of which I have records of) stating that I hadn't heard, wanted to pay my penalty fare, stating that I had intended to beep in but didn't realise it hadn't gone through. I emailed a number of times and tried to contact them a number of times with no response.

 

Will any of this help me? I also have absolutely no criminal record whatsoever and in addition I am working towards a career working with vulnerable children and adults requiring a CRB check. If I have a conviction for dishonesty then I think this will truly affect my career path in a very negative way, so I feel that the punishment will be disproportionate.

 

Thanks guys

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keep to one thread please.

 

i'll get this merged with you original one.

 

dx

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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2 threads merged.


Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

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sorry :) was trying to make it clearer!

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You can ask the Court to consider granting an adjournment stating that you have written to the TOC and wish to see their response before entering a plea.

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sorry - what is the TOC?

 

As my summons is 7th Aug shall I just enter the not guilty plea and then write to TfL about the circumstances and ask if they will drop the action against me?

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Deleted.

Edited by SRPO

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Train Operating Company.


The REAL Axis of evil: Banks, Credit Card Companies & Credit Reference Agencies.

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Train Operating Company

 

sorry, didn't mean to duplicate, answered from alert without reading other messages

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sorry - what is the TOC?

 

As my summons is 7th Aug shall I just enter the not guilty plea and then write to TfL about the circumstances and ask if they will drop the action against me?

 

You have still not told us what you have been charged with so it is difficult to give you case specific advice. SRPO is right, IF you have been charged with the strict liability offence, you do not have a defence - only mitigation. You need to make clear what the charge on the Summons actually says.

 

Whilst you are entitled to change your plea, I wouldn't do it the way you are suggesting

 

You get the maximum credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity

 

If you plead 'not guilty' the case will be set down for trial and the TOC witness (inspector) will be warned to attend. that increases the costs incurred by the TOC and if you are then found guilty, you might be ordered to pay higher costs.

 

I would ask for an adjournment, you might not get it although that's unlikely because there will be evidence of correspondence on file, and you will not have entered a plea on that basis

Edited by Old-CodJA
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can anyone else provide further advice?

 

Thanks :)

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