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Hi all, I've been a bit of an idiot.

 

I was recently caught riding on an oyster card outside zone 6. I touched in in Zone 3 and then travelled a few stations outside of the oyster, where I got caught by a revenue protection officer. I panicked a bit, and initially lied about where I got on and gave a wrong address, but then under caution gave correct details, which were confirmed when my oyster was checked. I also basically admitted that I'd tried to avoid paying the fare, which is stupid I know, but I was nervous and not thinking straight. The operating company in question is south west trains.

 

Anyway, I know that I've got to wait a few weeks until the letter comes through, but I was wondering whether anyone has much experience in these matters, specifically how likely they are to take the matter to court versus accept a settlement. It's my first offence, so I'm hoping that they'll accept an out of court settlement, as a criminal record could potentially screw me up since I sometimes have to travel to the U.S with work, however I'm aware that my idiotic behaviour has basically given them a cast iron case should they choose to pursue the matter further.

 

Should I be seeking legal advice?

 

Cheers

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Hi all, I've been a bit of an idiot.

 

I was recently caught riding on an oyster card outside zone 6. I touched in in Zone 3 and then travelled a few stations outside of the oyster, where I got caught by a revenue protection officer. I panicked a bit, and initially lied about where I got on and gave a wrong address, but then under caution gave correct details, which were confirmed when my oyster was checked. I also basically admitted that I'd tried to avoid paying the fare, which is stupid I know, but I was nervous and not thinking straight. The operating company in question is south west trains.

 

Anyway, I know that I've got to wait a few weeks until the letter comes through, but I was wondering whether anyone has much experience in these matters, specifically how likely they are to take the matter to court versus accept a settlement. It's my first offence, so I'm hoping that they'll accept an out of court settlement, as a criminal record could potentially screw me up since I sometimes have to travel to the U.S with work, however I'm aware that my idiotic behaviour has basically given them a cast iron case should they choose to pursue the matter further.

 

Should I be seeking legal advice?

 

Cheers

 

I'm not sure how legal advice would help : there are 2 offences here : intent to avoid a fare, and giving false details.

 

Giving false details makes it easier for them to prove intent to avoid a fare. You also say you admitted to intent to avoid a fare.

 

You could try writing once you've received their letter and know what you face, asking for an administrative settlement and to avoid court. They don't have to agree.

 

There are 2 ways they might view "I need to be able to travel to the USA for work" - they might be more inclined to agree an administrative settlement : but they might think "even more reason not to try and fare dodge then "!

 

If you do receive a conviction it will likely prevent you using a Visa Waiver to enter the USA. That won't prevent you from applying for a visa, which they may well grant (it is a crime, but not exactly 'crime of the century')

 

I just wish those people who a conviction will affect (those needing CRBs/DBSs and or visa waivers) would consider the cost of that (even the cost of an administrative settlement) against the cost of the fare.

 

It isn't uncommon to see posters saying "I'll pay almost anything to avoid a conviction"

They wouldn't have to pay a large sum ...... Just the fare due, in advance of boarding the service.

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I also basically admitted that I'd tried to avoid paying the fare, which is stupid I know, but I was nervous and not thinking straight.

 

Hang on : was it stupid to fare dodge : in which case why were you nervous and not thinking straight when you decided not to pay the correct fare?

 

Or was it stupid to admit it? In which case it seems a bit hollow to now want to throw yourself on their tender mercies?.

 

Which do you regret most : the fare dodging or getting caught?

 

As for "it's my first offence" : do you feel this will sway them, or do you think that most people caught will claim it is their first offence, and that the TOC may well read that as "first time caught"?

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