Solicitors for defence to Fare Evasion Solicitors
Fare Evasion Solicitors
If you have been accused of fare evasion, you could are likely to receive a criminal conviction if you plead guilty or if you are found guilty. This will result in a criminal record and will show up on future enhanced DBS checks for eleven years, which could jeopardise your career, particularly if you are a professional or you work within a regulated sector.
Once you find out that you are being accused, you are advised to seek advice from an experienced fare evasion lawyer as soon as possible. Wee routinely represent individuals who have been accused of fare evasion. We can work to avoid a criminal conviction, for example, by negotiating with the transport authority in question to try and deal with your case by way of an out of court settlement. We will ensure that we put forward any mitigating details and evidence and represent you robustly in correspondence.
If we are able to deal with matters outside of the court system, you will not have a criminal record for fare evasion and your case may either be dropped or you may be required to pay the value of the fare plus the transport authority’s costs in dealing with the matter, which is preferable to a conviction.
What is fare evasion?
Fare evasion is travelling on public transport without paying the correct fare. This could be failing to buy a ticket, having a ticket which does not cover the whole journey, being in first class with a second class ticket or using someone else’s discounted travel card or pass, such as an Oyster card or Freedom Pass.
Penalties for fare evasion
If you are convicted of fare evasion you could face a fine of up to £1,000 plus compensation and costs as well as receiving a criminal record.
The train operator may opt to issue a Penalty Fare notice instead, but if they decide to pursue a criminal conviction they have the authority to prosecute you in the Magistrates’ Court. If a prosecution is commenced, your solicitor may be able to agree with the transport authority to settle the matter out of court. This would avoid the risk of a criminal conviction.
What happens if you evade fare on public transport?
If you are accused of fare evasion and you are not given a fine on the spot, you may be sent a verification letter by the transport authority. This is a warning that legal proceedings may be imminent. Alternatively, you could receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice, similar to a summons, from the relevant transport authority.
You will usually have ten days in which to respond to a notice providing your personal details and stating whether you deny committing the offence. You are strongly recommended to speak to a fare evasion solicitor at this point. We can provide a robust response on your behalf raising arguments such as whether a prosecution is proportionate and in the public interest and raising any key points in your favour.
It is often the case that the transport authority can be persuaded to withdraw their prosecution and deal with the matter by way of a fine, avoiding a criminal conviction.
Fare evasion is a strict liability offence, meaning that even if you omitted to pay by accident or there is another valid reason why you did not pay, you will still be convicted of a criminal offence if you are sent a summons and you plead guilty or if you are found guilty.
In some cases, the transport authorities may choose to impose a fine only, but it is open to them to bring a criminal case against you if they believe they have grounds for this.
Legal representation for fare evasion
If you receive a Single Justice Procedure Notice advising you that you have been charged with fare evasion, we can represent you to try and ensure that you are not found guilty of an offence. It is advisable to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible. If you ask us to represent you, we will step in straightaway to try and prevent a criminal prosecution from going ahead. It is generally easier to do this earlier on in the process.
It is important not to ignore a Single Justice Procedure Notice. If you do, the Magistrates’ Court is likely to find you guilty and pass a sentence, leaving you with a criminal record.
We can accompany you to an interview if necessary and put your case to the transport authority in question in an attempt to agree on a lesser penalty such as a warning letter or payment of the fare.
If your case does go to court, we can ensure that you have expert representation and the strongest possible defence.
Contact our Birmingham fare evasion defence solicitors
It is advisable to speak to a fare evasion solicitor as soon as possible if you find out that you are being pursued by a transport company on the grounds of fare evasion. A criminal conviction can be damaging and once you have been convicted, it will stay on your record for many years.
If you ask us to represent you, we will start work straightaway, establishing what has happened and advising you of the best course of action.