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Hi, I have recently been asked to give my details for dodging a train fair for a second time. Admittedly they were different circumstances. However because this was the second time this has happened (the first time I had to pay a fine) I was worried i would be sent to prison or get a criminal record so I gave false details. I quickly withdrew these details after further questioning and admitted I had lied. But because this is the second time they have pulled me up, and because I gave false details to start, will I get a criminal offence? Please anyone that has any experience with this I would appreciate your help. Thank you.

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Hi, I have recently been asked to give my details for dodging a train fair for a second time. Admittedly they were different circumstances. However because this was the second time this has happened (the first time I had to pay a fine) I was worried i would be sent to prison or get a criminal record so I gave false details. I quickly withdrew these details after further questioning and admitted I had lied. But because this is the second time they have pulled me up, and because I gave false details to start, will I get a criminal offence? Please anyone that has any experience with this I would appreciate your help. Thank you.

 

Sorry to be pedantic, but what happened the first time?

Did it go to court?

 

I ask as you have posted "because this was the second time this has happened (the first time I had to pay a fine)" and strictly speaking only a court can "fine" you.

If it went to court, was that under Bylaw 17/18 or S5 RRA 1889?

 

If not court, what happened??

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hello BazzaS thanks for your reply. No if i am correct (after googling it a lot myself) i think i was only issued an administration fee as well as the price of the ticket it cost me about £90 in total. This is what worries me. Because it has happens before and they cannot issue a fine themselves will they take this to court? Is it very likely? Or will they only ask me to pay a standard penalty? And if so do you knwo what that would be? I will pay anything, I just don't want a criminal offence

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hello BazzaS thanks for your reply. No if i am correct (after googling it a lot myself) i think i was only issued an administration fee as well as the price of the ticket it cost me about £90 in total. This is what worries me. Because it has happens before and they cannot issue a fine themselves will they take this to court? Is it very likely? Or will they only ask me to pay a standard penalty? And if so do you knwo what that would be? I will pay anything, I just don't want a criminal offence

 

So, you had had a warning.

That would include a pretty clear indication that travelling without paying your fare in advance wasn't permitted, and is an offence, so: " I will pay anything, I just don't want a criminal offence" seems a bit hollow.

 

Good news: as you don't have a previous S5 RRA 1889 conviction, the worst case scenario is a fine. You can't go to prison.

 

Bad news: with the (current) attempt to give false details and previous warning you shouldn't expect another administrative settlement instead of a summons.

If you are lucky ; Byelaw 17/18

If not, one or 2 breaches of S5 RRA1889

(One for the fare evasion, one for the false details, potentially).

You face an uphill struggle to avoid court this time.

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So does this then mean I face a criminal record?

 

Depends.

Depends on if the paperwork reaches the Prosecutions Office & if they match it with your previous warning / administrative settlement (which seems likely).

Depends on if it is Byelaw 17/18 or S5 RRA 1889.

Depends on if you would need an enhanced DBS (where even "non-recordable" convictions appear).

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I'm not sure what all of that means, could you explain them for a worried, clueless person such as myself. Thank you for your replies by the way.

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I'm not sure what all of that means, could you explain them for a worried, clueless person such as myself. Thank you for your replies by the way.

 

Which bit don't you understand?

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what is the Byelaw 17/18 or S5 RRA 1889 ? and how will this affect me?7

what is an enhanced DBS ? and how will this affect me?

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what is the Byelaw 17/18 or S5 RRA 1889 ? and how will this affect me?7

what is an enhanced DBS ? and how will this affect me?

 

Bylaw 17/18 : the requirement to show a ticket on demand (where intent is irrelevant, so it doesn't matter if the person intended to fare dodge or not)

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/4202/railway-byelaws.pdf

 

S5 RRA1889 ; the offence of travel without a ticket while intending to evade your fare AND / OR (as it has multiple subsections) giving false details

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/52-53/57/section/5

 

Enhanced DBS. Why are you worried about a criminal record?

Are you planning on seeking employment where a criminal record might be a problem? How do think employers check : via a DBS check (for a standard or enhanced check)

Some jobs (healthcare, justice) have a more rigorous ("enhanced") check. There is also a less rigorous "basic disclosure"

 

https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview

 

Are you over 18?

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ok so it seems very likely i will get a criminal record then.

I'm worried because I'm not sure how much this is going to affect me. for example travelling to places like the US which i intended to do in the future. I am over 18 and i'm about to go into my final year of drama school, so my career path is not healthcare or law at all. but will it still hinder my job prospects? will this conviction stay on my records forever? and do you suppose there is any chance i can settle this out of the courts?

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ok so it seems very likely i will get a criminal record then.

I'm worried because I'm not sure how much this is going to affect me. for example travelling to places like the US which i intended to do in the future. I am over 18 and i'm about to go into my final year of drama school, so my career path is not healthcare or law at all. but will it still hinder my job prospects? will this conviction stay on my records forever? and do you suppose there is any chance i can settle this out of the courts?

 

Any chance you could settle? : never say "never" - but what reason would they have not to prosecute a repeat offender who has had a warning?

 

Job prospects : depends on the job & employer.

 

Rehabilitation periods for convictions : http://www.nacro.org.uk/resettlement-advice-service/reforms-to-the-rehabilitation-of-offenders-act/

 

Bear in mind some jobs (usually the ones where eDBS's are involved) convictions must always be disclosed and can't be considered "spent"

 

Travel abroad? Depends on the destination country & their rules. For a minor conviction it isn't likely to be a problem but may mean you have to get a visa in advance : eg for the USA : you might need to apply for a visa instead of discovering on arrival that a conviction makes you ineligible for their visa waiver scheme.

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Yes I understand however I have heard that most don't like taking it to court as that's more time and money. When i spoke with the officer i expressed my sincere apologies and asked if i would get a criminal record and he said he does not know but he said i was not abusive , nor do i have a list as long as my arm of similar offences which helps me. so do you think there is a chance they won't want to prosecute? or from your experience/ from what you know is Northern Rail likely to prosecute quite easily.

 

So because this is a 'minor' offence will this be 'spent' quite quickly?

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Yes I understand however I have heard that most don't like taking it to court as that's more time and money. When i spoke with the officer i expressed my sincere apologies and asked if i would get a criminal record and he said he does not know but he said i was not abusive , nor do i have a list as long as my arm of similar offences which helps me. so do you think there is a chance they won't want to prosecute? or from your experience/ from what you know is Northern Rail likely to prosecute quite easily.

 

So because this is a 'minor' offence will this be 'spent' quite quickly?

 

There is little I can add to what I've said already, regarding likelihood of prosecution. The staff on the train have a tacit pressure on them to "downplay" the possible outcome : it makes the person being reported less likely to "kick off".

 

If it were me face to face, on a train, I too would say "well, I just make the report, it is up to the Prosecutions office, but you haven't been abusive", to ensure you don't become abusive, not "Its up to the Prosecutions Office, but I'm going to phrase things so they definitely will take it court, and I'm going to stress you gave false details and got caught out on it". I'd want to de-escalate things so I could get on with my job with other travellers ....

 

"spent" / rehab period : as per the table in the Nacro link I provided.

 

As for "don't like taking it to court" : where did you get that from?. The justice system advises alternatives to prosecution WHERE APPROPRIATE - but they can (and do!) prosecute.

How many times do you think they ought to offer a "last chance warning"?

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Out of interest are you a ticket officer? Just wondering how you know so much about all this?

Oh ok so it will be 'spent' in a year.

"Don't like taking it to court" is what the ticket officer told me at the time. He said it costs them more to do that and since I don't have a long list of similar incidents not to worry, but obviously i was worrying and i don't know if he was only saying that to calm me down.

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Out of interest are you a ticket officer? Just wondering how you know so much about all this?

Oh ok so it will be 'spent' in a year.

"Don't like taking it to court" is what the ticket officer told me at the time. He said it costs them more to do that and since I don't have a long list of similar incidents not to worry, but obviously i was worrying and i don't know if he was only saying that to calm me down.

 

No, I don't work on the railways : let alone in revenue protection.

 

What I know is from:

what I've seen on CAG (re: how the Prosecutions Office's work),

personal experience of the CRB / DBS system both as the employee and from the employer side, including knowing what has happened to people (not me!) who didn't declare a caution when they should have done (& it showed on a CRB),

Having had a penalty fare (a long time ago, I felt it unfair but fortunately didn't kick off about it as I realised that technically I was in the wrong) : I've since seen in CAG that refusing a penalty fare can be a bad move!. It was this that sparked my interest, when I saw a thread on this on CAG, so I started following "fare related" threads.

 

I have an interest in the law, too, especially statutory interpretation (anyone read Nick Freeman's book, "The Art of the Loophole"?).

 

So, when my interests and knowledge coincided, I started to reply where I could. I read more and more threads, noting outcomes (where OP's came back to give them) and where / when the "industry experts" posted - and hopefully learnt more as I did so.

 

So, then, if I don't work on the railways : how do you know what I've posted is correct?

That is the beauty of CAG : plenty of contributors who could say "hang on, that's wrong!" if I was well off the mark, including the industry experts ....

 

BTW: "costs money for them to take it to court": the TOC aren't allowed to profit from taking someone to court, but (for an outcome of 'guilty') are allowed to apply to the court to recover their costs. From posters on CAG reporting what their summons says : the TOC's frequently make such applications on summonses.

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Ok I see. Yes i wasn't disputing any of your information I just wondered since you seem pretty knowledgeable!

 

If i posted a draft of the letter i wish to send to them could you proof it for me? I'm not sure whether i should mention i would much prefer this to be settled outside of court or whether that would make things worse.

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Dear Sir / Madam,

 

Firstly I want to apologise as this was an error of judgment made on my behalf. I will pay any relevant fines as well as administration costs incurred with processing and sending your letter, I do not wish to cause any trouble for you. I have already learned from a previous mistake with your service and since this mistake I have been a fully compliant and honest customer for Northern Rail. Before this incident on the 24th of July 2015 I had been paying the full fare from XXX to XXX all week which I can prove with bank statements.

I travelled from XXX to XXX that day. I tried to purchase my ticket on the train which I had been doing successfully all week. However that day my card was declined and I was told I should buy it when I got off the train. I then queued to purchase my ticket at Manchester but my card was declined again. When asked where I had travelled from I said: XXX (different station). This was absolutely out of character and I immediately regretted my stupidity.

However, since I still hadn’t purchased my ticket yet I was able to rectify this act of stupidity by purchasing the right ticket at the ticket machine so I then tried to purchase a ticket from XXX (correct station). However an error was made on this machine at this point which meant I had purchased from a completely different station: XXX. This was an accident on my part. So, I took my ticket and indented then to find a member of staff/ the guard I had previously spoken to so I could come clean, explain my situation, and purchase the right ticket. The officer I had previously spoken to asked to see this ticket but before I could explain myself I was told someone would be waiting to take my details.

Naturally, when asked for my details I panicked a lot. I gave the wrong details because, due to a past mistake, I was scared I would be sent to prison or given a criminal record. In hindsight this was an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. All I should have done was explain fully my mistake. I know I was completely in the wrong here and should not have lied. It was a complete moment of absurdity and I want to make it right for you and for myself. The officer who took my details was very kind and gave me time to calm myself down so I could think rationally again before giving him the correct details.

However once returning home and reviewing the situation with a more rational mind I realised the officer had taken the XXX ticket I had accidently purchased and given me a ticket to XXX (station I had lied I travelled from) which I signed without really knowing why or understanding what was happening. I am now concerned that they have the wrong information when making the report. As I said I had travelled from XXX that morning, not XXX. I am writing this letter to confirm this.

I made a very foolish mistake by saying I travelled from XXX that morning but I tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to rectify this act of stupidity at the ticket machine. I hope you can understand my intention and realise that this was an accident. I would happily have paid what I rightfully owed, which I had done all week. However, I do understand this is entirely my error and I know your officers have to be very vigilant. I know it may not be relevant but I have enclosed tickets that I had purchased earlier that week to show you that I am a fully compliant customer and that this was a stupid mistake.

Your service at Northern Rail is extremely well conducted and reliable and as a regular commuter I value it very much. I never intended to cause unnecessary difficulty or disturbance and I hope you understand this.

 

Kind regards,

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Dear Sir / Madam,

 

Firstly I want to apologise as this was an error of judgment made on my behalf. I will pay any relevant fines as well as administration costs incurred with processing and sending your letter, I do not wish to cause any trouble for you. I have already learned from a previous mistake with your service and since this mistake I have been a fully compliant and honest customer for Northern Rail. Before this incident on the 24th of July 2015 I had been paying the full fare from XXX to XXX all week which I can prove with bank statements.

I travelled from XXX to XXX that day. I tried to purchase my ticket on the train which I had been doing successfully all week. However that day my card was declined and I was told I should buy it when I got off the train. I then queued to purchase my ticket at Manchester but my card was declined again. When asked where I had travelled from I said: XXX (different station). This was absolutely out of character and I immediately regretted my stupidity.

However, since I still hadn’t purchased my ticket yet I was able to rectify this act of stupidity by purchasing the right ticket at the ticket machine so I then tried to purchase a ticket from XXX (correct station). However an error was made on this machine at this point which meant I had purchased from a completely different station: XXX. This was an accident on my part. So, I took my ticket and indented then to find a member of staff/ the guard I had previously spoken to so I could come clean, explain my situation, and purchase the right ticket. The officer I had previously spoken to asked to see this ticket but before I could explain myself I was told someone would be waiting to take my details.

Naturally, when asked for my details I panicked a lot. I gave the wrong details because, due to a past mistake, I was scared I would be sent to prison or given a criminal record. In hindsight this was an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. All I should have done was explain fully my mistake. I know I was completely in the wrong here and should not have lied. It was a complete moment of absurdity and I want to make it right for you and for myself. The officer who took my details was very kind and gave me time to calm myself down so I could think rationally again before giving him the correct details.

However once returning home and reviewing the situation with a more rational mind I realised the officer had taken the XXX ticket I had accidently purchased and given me a ticket to XXX (station I had lied I travelled from) which I signed without really knowing why or understanding what was happening. I am now concerned that they have the wrong information when making the report. As I said I had travelled from XXX that morning, not XXX. I am writing this letter to confirm this.

I made a very foolish mistake by saying I travelled from XXX that morning but I tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to rectify this act of stupidity at the ticket machine. I hope you can understand my intention and realise that this was an accident. I would happily have paid what I rightfully owed, which I had done all week. However, I do understand this is entirely my error and I know your officers have to be very vigilant. I know it may not be relevant but I have enclosed tickets that I had purchased earlier that week to show you that I am a fully compliant customer and that this was a stupid mistake.

Your service at Northern Rail is extremely well conducted and reliable and as a regular commuter I value it very much. I never intended to cause unnecessary difficulty or disturbance and I hope you understand this.

 

Kind regards,

 

So, have you had a letter then?

If so, what did it say (as your original post doesn't mention you have had a letter this time).

 

You also previously missed out the "gave the wrong station" and "accidentally bought a ticket from the wrong station" events prior to being stopped.

 

Were there facilities available to you to buy a ticket at the station before you boarded your first train?. If there was, this may count against you.

It is only in limited circumstances that you can "board first, pay later".

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Hello. No I have not yet received a letter from them. I am merely writing this to put my mind at ease so i know what to say when i finally do receive a letter from them (i know i should wait to see what they say but i cant really stop thinking about it)

No the station that i actually boarded at had no means of paying as there is no ticket office. However the station i lied about boarding at has a ticket office.

The version of events i stated in the letter i drafted are entirely honest and correct. That was the series of events that happened that day.

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Hello. No I have not yet received a letter from them. I am merely writing this to put my mind at ease so i know what to say when i finally do receive a letter from them (i know i should wait to see what they say but i cant really stop thinking about it)

No the station that i actually boarded at had no means of paying as there is no ticket office. However the station i lied about boarding at has a ticket office.

The version of events i stated in the letter i drafted are entirely honest and correct. That was the series of events that happened that day.

 

No ticket office AND no working machine?

(The Prosecutions Office will know what stations have which facilities, and can check if there was a working ticket machine)

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No you misunderstand me. The station at which i actually boarded at has no ticket office or working machine. The station at which i lied about boarding from does. I then still could not purchase this ticket due to my card being declined. So i went to the ticket machine at the terminating station i arrived at to buy the relevant ticket (i intended to buy a ticket from the station i actually boarded at instead of the one i lied about since i released then that was a stupid thing to have said and i was going to put it right). But then at this machine i managed to buy the wrong ticket entirely by accident and that's when they pulled me up. I could have accidentally bought a ticket costing me a lot more but because i accidentally bought a ticket that cost less they laid into me.

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Basically buying this ticket from the terminating stations ticket machine gave me a chance to undo the lie i had literally just told and i intended to do that. It was only after making a stupid mistake on the machine that they pulled me up. And at that stage I was completely frightened and didn't have a chance to explain myself. All they believed was that i came from XXX station they didnt know i had actually come from XXX station. And because i had completely stuffed my chance at rectifying this it meant i was left in a stupid situation. At which point i panicked and thats when i gave false information.

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No you misunderstand me. The station at which i actually boarded at has no ticket office or working machine. The station at which i lied about boarding from does. I then still could not purchase this ticket due to my card being declined. So i went to the ticket machine at the terminating station i arrived at to buy the relevant ticket (i intended to buy a ticket from the station i actually boarded at instead of the one i lied about since i released then that was a stupid thing to have said and i was going to put it right). But then at this machine i managed to buy the wrong ticket entirely by accident and that's when they pulled me up. I could have accidentally bought a ticket costing me a lot more but because i accidentally bought a ticket that cost less they laid into me.

 

No : I understood.

It was just to clarify if you had an (initial) defence under one of the statuatory exemptions to Bylaw 17/18, which otherwise is a 'strict liability' offence. Mind you, they have plenty to proceed on other than an initial Bylaw charge what with

s5(3) RRA 1889 : not just parts a) and c) as initially described but now s5(3)(b) too ....

 

Sorry that you feel I misunderstood. What with my (apparent to you) limited understanding (+ your concerns about me not being an RPI, too) and all ; it is time I bowed out.

Good luck.

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No haha I told you I never thought you had limited understanding i was simply inquiring so i could understand how you knew so much. But thank you very much anyway for all your help. I cannot say what the outcome will be until i actually receive my letter. But when i do is the time to speculate these things. Right now I guess I'll just hold tight. I will post on here when I hear anything though. Just to help anyone else out in a similar situation. Thanks again for your time!

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