Help intention to prosecute letter? really confused?

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fraser10102

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Hello

Thank you for reading I need some advice. The other morning I was traveling to college and I was running late and when I got to the station I did not have time to buy a ticket so I just got on the train. ( I understand that is not an excuse but I did not want to be late). A ticket inspector approached me and I was honest with him and gave him my details and he said they would be in touch. I thought I was just going to get a £20 or £40 fine in the post like my friends have gotten in the past but instead I have received a letter with a notice of prosecution. I am confused as I thought I would just get a fine like my friends have gotten in the past. I really want to settle this out of court as I don't want to get a criminal record or anything. I don't mind paying a fine as I understand I was travelling without a ticket. What should I do? Some people have said to me just don't reply but I don't think that is the right thing to do. Would they really take me to court over a ticket? I never knew they would take someone over to court with this. I want to avoid court at all costs. Thanks for your help.
 
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ainsworth74

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They absolutely can prosecute you for travelling without a ticket, bypassing an open booking office or a working ticket machine which you could have used means that by boarding the train you committed an offence. Unfortunately 'running late' is not a defence. Sometimes train companies can opt to deal with this by issuing a Penalty Fare (the £20 'fine' some of your friends have got) but they do not have to and it appears they have decided not to in your case.

It is up to you how you respond to this but it would be wise to tell the truth at this stage as lying is likely to make the situation worse. You can also consider replying stating that you're very sorry for your mistake, that you will never do so again, that you are willing to pay the fare outstanding and any administration costs they've incurred.

In our experience replying along the lines of the above may sometimes (but not always) enable you to avoid court and a potential criminal record.

As the train company appear to be thinking about prosecuting you then you have a few options:

1) Defend your case in court by pleading not guilty. You'll need to be able to defeat the evidence that the prosecution will bring against you. Further if you're found guilty you'll not only face a fine and potentially a criminal record but also the other sides costs (you would also lose the advantage in sentencing of an early guilty plea potentially reducing the fine).

2) Plead guilty and accept a fine and potential criminal record.

3) Write directly to the TOC apologising for your actions and offering to pay the fare outstanding and whatever costs they've incurred so far. They may opt to accept a payment from you directly and avoid court or they may wish to proceed to court.

Finally, and especially if they do take you to court, you should strongly consider seeking professional legal advice even if it's only a 30 minute free consultation. Whilst specialists in railway law are available they are not common and charge a great deal for their services. However, a local firm dealing in criminal law defence should be able to provide adequate assistance.

You may wish to consult the Legal section of our Ticketing Guide for more information and with particular reference to this section and this section.

A final note of caution. Ignoring this will not work. They will still proceed with the prosecution whether or not you reply to them and if you do nothing they will be successful in prosecuting you and you will end up with a fine and potentially a criminal record.
 

fraser10102

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Thank you for helping me. I understand that is not a real excuse and I take responsibility for my actions. Im going to reply telling the truth and offer to pay money and hopefully they will accept it and stay out of court. Thank you for helping
 

mikeg

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You can also consider replying stating that you're very sorry for your mistake, that you will never do so again, that you are willing to pay the fare outstanding and any administration costs they've incurred.

I definitely second this course of action. It's by no means always successful but seems to be a majority of the time, even in cases more serious than yours. The ball is however firmly in their court. You may want to share the letter with a forum member for proofreading, either via PM or publicly if you do attempt to achieve an out of court settlement before sending it off, to ensure that it is appropriate and that you do not incriminate yourself further. Key hits and tips for writing a letter are: Be factual, be honest, don't make excuses and be apologetic, explaining that you have learnt your lesson and that it will not happen again. Also leave the settlement amount up to them to specify, they will usually come up with a figure.

May I ask what company you were travelling with? And where you were travelling from and to? I say this as not all TOCs operate a penalty fare scheme and even those that do, it's not always operated on all routes.
 
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fraser10102

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Thankyou

I am not aloud to private messaged as just joined. I am going to be honest and say what truly happened. I will say the reason I did not have a ticket but then after let them know I understand its not a real excuse. I will be apologetic and say I will never do it again. (I defiantly won't do it again this is very stressful). Thank you for all the help, hopefully they will accept out of court settlement.
 

fraser10102

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I was travelling between hassocks and preston park and I think southern rail but not to sure.
 

trentside

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Thankyou

I am not aloud to private messaged as just joined. I am going to be honest and say what truly happened. I will say the reason I did not have a ticket but then after let them know I understand its not a real excuse. I will be apologetic and say I will never do it again. (I defiantly won't do it again this is very stressful). Thank you for all the help, hopefully they will accept out of court settlement.

You should be able to PM after another post.

As well as apologising you should also ensure you offer to pay the fare owing plus the costs the company have incurred taking the matter this far. Expect this payment to be a lot more than £20 - I'd anticipate a three figure sum should they agree, but can't say for certain. It you're at college I'm guessing you're under 18? It may be advisable to talk to a parent or guardian about this. They might be able to offer you some support with this!

The company you're dealing with is Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) who operate services under the Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern brands.
 

fraser10102

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12 Mar 2016
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I turned 18 4 months ago so I am going to wait and see what they say to me then tell my parents. I've sent the letter and hopefully I just have to pay a fine. Thank you to everyone who helped me.
 

bioboy

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27 Jun 2016
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can I just as Fraser10102 what was the outcome of your predicament?
 
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