Court summons for 18 year old fare evasion

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Geranium

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Hi. So my 19 year old daughter has received a court summons for travelling with a 16-17 year old ticket at a time she was 18.

The summons is for an offence contrary to byelaws 18.1 and 24. She is studying to be a nurse and doesnt want a criminal conviction. I have read that out of court settlements are possible but the hearing is in 3 weeks so I wonder whether it's too late for that. The fare is £17.80 and the court costs is £150. She realises how stupid she has been and I know she will never repeat it again. Any help as to how to tackle this issue will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
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Gloster

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I will say welcome to the forum, although I have no doubt that you would rather not have had to join. You will get a lot of helpful advice over the next few days (not everybody looks at the forum every day) from a number of very knowledgeable people. I am not one of these knowledgeable people, but it would seem to me that, as long as you do not let the matter drift, she has a very good chance of avoiding a criminal conviction. Do not worry.
 

Geranium

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I will say welcome to the forum, although I have no doubt that you would rather not have had to join. You will get a lot of helpful advice over the next few days (not everybody looks at the forum every day) from a number of very knowledgeable people. I am not one of these knowledgeable people, but it would seem to me that, as long as you do not let the matter drift, she has a very good chance of avoiding a criminal conviction. Do not worry.
Thanks for the reassurance. I hope so.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Let’s start with the worst that can happen: that would be that your daughter is convicted. The immediate result of this would be a fine, plus court costs, plus prosecution costs, plus compensation to the victim. You won’t be too far wrong with your expectation of around £150. But I’m guessing that your real concern is the impact on your daughter’s professional prospects. For that, have a look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) website at https://www.nmc.org.uk/ftp-library/...llegations/criminal-convictions-and-cautions/.

I assume that nursing students have to be registered with the NMC, but even if not, the guidance is relevant for when your daughter needs to register. My understanding is that your daughter will need to declare the conviction, but there will be no impact: see the section headed ‘Assessing the seriousness of convictions and cautions’. What your daughter has done doesn’t (it seems to me) lead to a clear risk to patients or the public.

I would also expect that your daughter will need to tell her university about a conviction. There can be no guarantee, but my expectation here would also be that no action would be taken.

Moving on to the possibility of settling this before going to court, this may still be an option. Get in touch with the railway company to ask if this can be done. The railway may be prepared to settle for the train fare and the costs they have incurred.

Even if a first attempt to settle doesn’t succeed, we do hear of cases being settled literally at the door of the court. At worst, your daughter should arrive early for the hearing and look for the prosecutor: I gather that the court administrators may be able to help you find the right person. And then a face to face negotiation may be successful.

In all, the important thing to remember is that this should not be a career-ending matter.
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum.

This case is a little bit different as it appears your daughter has already got a court date. It would be useful to know if the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) has been in touch about the case previously, and if they have did your daughter reply or ignore it hoping it would go away.

I suggest your daughter contacts the train company (I'd sent a letter to their Prosecutions Department by 1st class signed for post). In it she might want to mention the following:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. What I don't know is why they have prosecuted, are there agravating factors or has your daughter ignored previous correspondence?

It is by no means certain that the train company will offer an out of court settlement, especially if she has previously been in contact with them, or ignored previous letters, but there is no harm in trying. If this fails then I suggest that on the day of the hearing your daughter arrives at the court early and seeks out the prosecutor. We have had reports in the past that some prosecutors have agreed to a settlement 'at the doors of the court'. Again it is worth a try.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. If the train company do agree to a settlement then I would still attend court on the day to make sure the case has been withdrawn and doesn't inadvertently proceed.
 

Geranium

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Welcome to the forum.

This case is a little bit different as it appears your daughter has already got a court date. It would be useful to know if the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) has been in touch about the case previously, and if they have did your daughter reply or ignore it hoping it would go away.

I suggest your daughter contacts the train company (I'd sent a letter to their Prosecutions Department by 1st class signed for post). In it she might want to mention the following:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. What I don't know is why they have prosecuted, are there agravating factors or has your daughter ignored previous correspondence?

It is by no means certain that the train company will offer an out of court settlement, especially if she has previously been in contact with them, or ignored previous letters, but there is no harm in trying. If this fails then I suggest that on the day of the hearing your daughter arrives at the court early and seeks out the prosecutor. We have had reports in the past that some prosecutors have agreed to a settlement 'at the doors of the court'. Again it is worth a try.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. If the train company do agree to a settlement then I would still attend court on the day to make sure the case has been withdrawn and doesn't inadvertently proceed.
She said she ignored the letter thinking they were going to send her a fine.

Let’s start with the worst that can happen: that would be that your daughter is convicted. The immediate result of this would be a fine, plus court costs, plus prosecution costs, plus compensation to the victim. You won’t be too far wrong with your expectation of around £150. But I’m guessing that your real concern is the impact on your daughter’s professional prospects. For that, have a look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) website at https://www.nmc.org.uk/ftp-library/...llegations/criminal-convictions-and-cautions/.

I assume that nursing students have to be registered with the NMC, but even if not, the guidance is relevant for when your daughter needs to register. My understanding is that your daughter will need to declare the conviction, but there will be no impact: see the section headed ‘Assessing the seriousness of convictions and cautions’. What your daughter has done doesn’t (it seems to me) lead to a clear risk to patients or the public.

I would also expect that your daughter will need to tell her university about a conviction. There can be no guarantee, but my expectation here would also be that no action would be taken.

Moving on to the possibility of settling this before going to court, this may still be an option. Get in touch with the railway company to ask if this can be done. The railway may be prepared to settle for the train fare and the costs they have incurred.

Even if a first attempt to settle doesn’t succeed, we do hear of cases being settled literally at the door of the court. At worst, your daughter should arrive early for the hearing and look for the prosecutor: I gather that the court administrators may be able to help you find the right person. And then a face to face negotiation may be successful.

In all, the important thing to remember is that this should not be a career-ending matter.
Thank you for this advice. Is the following a good letter to send?
 

Geranium

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Dear Sirs

I am writing to ask that you please consider withdrawing the case against me.

I am extremely sorry for travelling on a 16-17 year old ticket when I was already 18 years old. It was a very stupid thing to do and I know that now and I will never do it again.

I'm a first year university student studying to be a nurse. I really do not want a silly mistake I made an at 18 to affect my whole life and career. Please forgive me and withdraw the case from the court. I am willing to offer an out of court settlement of £200 to cover your court cost of £150, the full fare of £17.50 and compensation for your time and trouble.

Thank you for your time.

I look forward to hearing from you.
 

Fawkes Cat

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My suggestion would be to change your wording a bit: my understanding is that the convention with the railways is that they suggest how much an out of court settlement should be - and the sensible person accepts their suggestion. If nothing else (a) time is getting a little short to start a negotiation and (b) it would be a shame to end up in court just because (for example) your daughter felt that £200 was a reasonable offer but the railway thought £250 was nearer the mark. It's also our understanding here that special pleading tends not to work: your daughter is not the only student who has looked to save some money by not paying the full fare that they should have done and only later discovering the consequences.

I've used striking through and italics to show what I think you might want to change. Obviously, you might want to use your own wording rather than my 'I would be grateful' etc. - we all have our own writing styles!

Dear Sirs

I am writing to ask that you please consider withdrawing the case against me.

I am extremely sorry for travelling on a 16-17 year old ticket when I was already 18 years old. It was a very stupid thing to do and I know that now and I will never do it again.

I'm a first year university student studying to be a nurse. I really do not want a silly mistake I made an at 18 to affect my whole life and career. Please forgive me and withdraw the case from the court. I am willing to offer an out of court settlement of £200 to cover your court cost of £150, the full fare of £17.50 and compensation for your time and trouble. I would be grateful if you would consider agreeing to settling this matter out of court for the train fare that I did not pay and a sum to cover the costs that you have incurred.

Thank you for your time.

I look forward to hearing from you with your suggestion of how much would be required to settle this matter.
 

Geranium

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Location
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My suggestion would be to change your wording a bit: my understanding is that the convention with the railways is that they suggest how much an out of court settlement should be - and the sensible person accepts their suggestion. If nothing else (a) time is getting a little short to start a negotiation and (b) it would be a shame to end up in court just because (for example) your daughter felt that £200 was a reasonable offer but the railway thought £250 was nearer the mark. It's also our understanding here that special pleading tends not to work: your daughter is not the only student who has looked to save some money by not paying the full fare that they should have done and only later discovering the consequences.

I've used striking through and italics to show what I think you might want to change. Obviously, you might want to use your own wording rather than my 'I would be grateful' etc. - we all have our own writing styles!

Many thanks for this. It reads much better. We'll give it a shot and keep the forum updated.
 

clagmonster

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Just taking things a step back, although I don't disagree with the advice above?

Was the ticket your daughter used discount with a 16-17 Saver? If so, was it a season or normal single / return?

Also, how long elapsed between the alleged offence taking place and the summons being issued?

I don't want to give false hope, but at the same time want to ensure your daughter does actually have a case against her.
 

Geranium

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Just taking things a step back, although I don't disagree with the advice above?

Was the ticket your daughter used discount with a 16-17 Saver? If so, was it a season or normal single / return?

Also, how long elapsed between the alleged offence taking place and the summons being issued?

I don't want to give false hope, but at the same time want to ensure your daughter does actually have a case against her.
Thanks for this but it's all sorted now. To answer your question, she bought the ticket online, she also received a letter in December asking her to confirm her details but she did nothing as she thought a fine would follow which she would then pay to sort matters out. Offence happened in September 2020 summons received in March 2021.

My suggestion would be to change your wording a bit: my understanding is that the convention with the railways is that they suggest how much an out of court settlement should be - and the sensible person accepts their suggestion. If nothing else (a) time is getting a little short to start a negotiation and (b) it would be a shame to end up in court just because (for example) your daughter felt that £200 was a reasonable offer but the railway thought £250 was nearer the mark. It's also our understanding here that special pleading tends not to work: your daughter is not the only student who has looked to save some money by not paying the full fare that they should have done and only later discovering the consequences.

I've used striking through and italics to show what I think you might want to change. Obviously, you might want to use your own wording rather than my 'I would be grateful' etc. - we all have our own writing styles!
Thank you all for your advices and assurances, especially Fawkes Cat for editing the letter of offer of settlement. The rail operator agreed and for the price of the ticket plus £100 it's been settled today. Receipt received by email just waiting for a hard copy letter confirming all withdrawn and case closed.

This is an amazing forum and I'm so pleased to have found it in time. Needless to say my daughter will never do anything like that again. She is so relieved.

Thanks for this but it's all sorted now. To answer your question, she bought the ticket online, she also received a letter in December asking her to confirm her details but she did nothing as she thought a fine would follow which she would then pay to sort matters out. Offence happened in September 2020 summons received in March 2021.


Thank you all for your advices and assurances, especially Fawkes Cat for editing the letter of offer of settlement. The rail operator agreed and for the price of the ticket plus £100 it's been settled today. Receipt received by email just waiting for a hard copy letter confirming all withdrawn and case closed.

This is an amazing forum and I'm so pleased to have found it in time. Needless to say my daughter will never do anything like that again. She is so relieved.
Fawkes Cat, you are amazing, you saved us £630 which a solicitor was gonna charge to do a letter.
 
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WesternLancer

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Thanks for this but it's all sorted now. To answer your question, she bought the ticket online, she also received a letter in December asking her to confirm her details but she did nothing as she thought a fine would follow which she would then pay to sort matters out. Offence happened in September 2020 summons received in March 2021.


Thank you all for your advices and assurances, especially Fawkes Cat for editing the letter of offer of settlement. The rail operator agreed and for the price of the ticket plus £100 it's been settled today. Receipt received by email just waiting for a hard copy letter confirming all withdrawn and case closed.

This is an amazing forum and I'm so pleased to have found it in time. Needless to say my daughter will never do anything like that again. She is so relieved.


Fawkes Cat, you are amazing, you saved us £630 which a solicitor was gonna charge to do a letter.
Good to hear this outcome. Good luck to your daughter with her nursing studies etc - I am sure there will be many people who will be grateful to her in the future.

Hopefully she can get a useful Railcard to help reduce her future travel costs etc, if she's not got one already of course.
 

Hadders

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This is an amazing forum and I'm so pleased to have found it in time.
Thank you so much for your comments and I'm really pleased you have managed to sort things out.

This forum is certainly the place to go for all railway matters. In fact I'd say there is more knowledge on this forum than going via official channels.
 

Fawkes Cat

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As others have said, thanks for letting us know about the result which is as good as could have been hoped for.
 

Nmulah1

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Thanks for this but it's all sorted now. To answer your question, she bought the ticket online, she also received a letter in December asking her to confirm her details but she did nothing as she thought a fine would follow which she would then pay to sort matters out. Offence happened in September 2020 summons received in March 2021.


Thank you all for your advices and assurances, especially Fawkes Cat for editing the letter of offer of settlement. The rail operator agreed and for the price of the ticket plus £100 it's been settled today. Receipt received by email just waiting for a hard copy letter confirming all withdrawn and case closed.

This is an amazing forum and I'm so pleased to have found it in time. Needless to say my daughter will never do anything like that again. She is so relieved.


Fawkes Cat, you are amazing, you saved us £630 which a solicitor was gonna charge to do a letter.
Hi there,

is there any chance you can tell me where you sent your letter to and how long they took to reply? I am in exactly the same boat however my court day is next week
 

WesternLancer

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Hi there,

is there any chance you can tell me where you sent your letter to and how long they took to reply? I am in exactly the same boat however my court day is next week
Hi - welcome to this forum - I think you should also start a new thread to get advice on this - each Train company can use different agencies ref court cases and prosecutions etc - there is not one central address. Unless you KNOW your case was with the same train company as the OP in this thread the answer to your question is not going to help you.

If you start new thread and post a bit more detail people here will advise you on what to do / where to write to to try to obtain a settlement.

You could post where you travelled to / from if you wish, what train company, whose staff 'caught you' if you know etc.

surely you have had letters before this point saying who is taking you to court and how to contact them? If not you will need to go to court on the day, ask to see prosecutor and see if they are prepared to settle on the day. There have been cases on here where that has happened. It may cost more than getting a letter / e-mail to the train company ASAP however.
 

clagmonster

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Thanks for this but it's all sorted now. To answer your question, she bought the ticket online, she also received a letter in December asking her to confirm her details but she did nothing as she thought a fine would follow which she would then pay to sort matters out. Offence happened in September 2020 summons received in March 2021.
Glad all has been sorted. Given that your daughter is 19 years old, may I suggest that she looks into getting a 16-25 railcard:
www.16-25railcard.co.uk

If she regularly makes the same journey, she may well benefit from a season ticket.
 
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