Notice of intention to prosecute

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SVK

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Hi,

I also received a notice of intention to prosecute a few weeks after being controlled with a discounted ticket without a railcard.

To give you a better context, I am new in London and am not very familiar with the ticket system. I have an oyster card and take the train with it too. I had my oyster card with me and thought that it enabled me to have a discounted ticket. I thought that going from Kings' Cross to another place I would need a ticket so I bought one. When I was controlled I explained that and was offered to pay a penalty fare, the problem was that I didn't have enough money on my account to pay for it. I wanted to pay it later but couldn't find the First Capital Connect ticket office to do so. I asked around and when someone could tell me, their office was already closed.

Now my questions are:
1. Is it still possible for me to pay the fine even if I have the notice?
2. Or am I in big troubles already? Will it end on my CRB?

Note: I explained my situation in a letter in apologetic manner and offering to pay the fine.

Thanks for your answers.
 
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yorkie

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Welcome to the forum.

There have been others in a similar situation to you, so you may benefit from a search of previous threads. (our search feature isn't great so you may wish to use Google search specifying site:railforums.co.uk)
Hi,

I also received a notice of intention to prosecute a few weeks after being controlled with a discounted ticket without a railcard.

To give you a better context, I am new in London and am not very familiar with the ticket system. I have an oyster card and take the train with it too. I had my oyster card with me and thought that it enabled me to have a discounted ticket.
What Railcard discount did you think it entitled you? Did you select a Railcard on the ticket machine?
I thought that going from Kings' Cross to another place I would need a ticket so I bought one.
Without knowing where "another place" is, I cannot say whether or not you would have needed a separate ticket or if you could have used Oyster PAYG.
When I was controlled I explained that and was offered to pay a penalty fare, the problem was that I didn't have enough money on my account to pay for it. I wanted to pay it later but couldn't find the First Capital Connect ticket office to do so. I asked around and when someone could tell me, their office was already closed.
I don't quite follow, there appears to be something missing here. What happened when you said you could not pay the fare? Did the inspector take your details? Were you asked to make a statement?
Now my questions are:
1. Is it still possible for me to pay the fine even if I have the notice?
If you are being prosecuted, then you have to wait until the process is complete and the Court decides, if you are guilty, what the fine will be. The fine will be in addition to the fare due and the Company's costs.
2. Or am I in big troubles already? Will it end on my CRB?
It depends on what you are being prosecuted for. If it's a breach of the Regulation of Railways Act, yes. If it's a breach of Railway Byelaws, no. Without more information, we cannot say.
Note: I explained my situation in a letter in apologetic manner and offering to pay the fine.
Was this a letter asking you for your version of events (a statement)? By offering to pay the fine, it sounds like that means you are pleading guilty?

You cannot pay the fine until the Court decides what the fine will be.

Alternatively, you may wish to ask the Train Company (First Capital Connect) if they will consider an Out of Court Settlement.
 

SVK

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Hi again,



Welcome to the forum.

There have been others in a similar situation to you, so you may benefit from a search of previous threads. (our search feature isn't great so you may wish to use Google search specifying site:railforums.co.uk)
I will have a look at this. Thanks.
What Railcard discount did you think it entitled you? Did you select a Railcard on the ticket machine?
I thought it entitled me to a 16-25 ticket. I selected the ticket on the ticket machine yes. I could not get any support when buying as it was after the office opening time.

Without knowing where "another place" is, I cannot say whether or not you would have needed a separate ticket or if you could have used Oyster PAYG.
It was to Hitchin.
I don't quite follow, there appears to be something missing here. What happened when you said you could not pay the fare? Did the inspector take your details? Were you asked to make a statement?
The inspector did take my details and asked me to make a statement.
The letter I received is asking me to give my version of the story. Also I had a ticket and in the letter they are saying I tried to travel 'without a ticket entitling to travel'. The ticket receipt is all I have now. I am not pleading guilty and I am saying in the letter that I had bought a ticket even if I would have needed a railcard in place of my student oyster.

They didn't say I was breaching any act on the letter, they were just asking for my version of the event.

Should I hold on to the letter? English is not my first language and I am worried of having written the letter in a way that would make me look guilty when I wrote I had a ticket.

I am asking about the fine because I was hoping to pay the fine later, a few days after the event, but I am not sure I got everything right: I think the inspector said I should wait for the letter. It was all very confusing. :(
If you are being prosecuted, then you have to wait until the process is complete and the Court decides, if you are guilty, what the fine will be. The fine will be in addition to the fare due and the Company's costs.

It depends on what you are being prosecuted for. If it's a breach of the Regulation of Railways Act, yes. If it's a breach of Railway Byelaws, no. Without more information, we cannot say.

Was this a letter asking you for your version of events (a statement)? By offering to pay the fine, it sounds like that means you are pleading guilty?

You cannot pay the fine until the Court decides what the fine will be.

Alternatively, you may wish to ask the Train Company (First Capital Connect) if they will consider an Out of Court Settlement.

Does an out of court settlement mean that my CRB will be left blank?

Thank you again for your answers.
 

island

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Welcome to the forum.

Looking at this from FCC's point of view, do bear in mind that as they operate entirely driver-only trains with rare onboard inspections, they tend to take a rather jaundiced and negative view of people with discounted tickets to which they aren't entitled, as they are hard to detect.

I do find it hard to reconcile how someone could think an Oyster card entitled them to a 16-25 Railcard discount, especially when most TVMs have a nice picture of the orange-coloured Railcard on the button which you press to select the discount.
 

rdwarr

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I do find it hard to reconcile how someone could think an Oyster card entitled them to a 16-25 Railcard discount, especially when most TVMs have a nice picture of the orange-coloured Railcard on the button which you press to select the discount.

I don't think it's that hard for somebody who doesn't speak English as a first language to assume that, if you're 16-25, you buy a 16-25 ticket. The notion of a "railcard" is familiar to us here but why shouldn't somebody assume it's just another word for ticket?
 

andykn

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why shouldn't somebody assume it's just another word for ticket?

Because that assumption can land you in a lot of trouble in most places in the world. I've used public transport systems in a variety, many of which offer a range of discounts on ticket machines. I only select one if I've studied the system and know I'm entitled to it - I don't assume anything.
 

cuccir

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They didn't say I was breaching any act on the letter, they were just asking for my version of the event

Should I hold on to the letter? English is not my first language and I am worried of having written the letter in a way that would make me look guilty when I wrote I had a ticket.

Does the letter that you received tell you when they want you to respond?

If you have some time before that, then hold on to the letter . People here will be happy to read it for you. Yorkie, who first responded to you, probably has the most experience in looking at these things. Don't post it here, but send it as a private message when you can (you need to make 5 posts to send a private message).

I am asking about the fine because I was hoping to pay the fine later, a few days after the event, but I am not sure I got everything right: I think the inspector said I should wait for the letter. It was all very confusing. :(

They are asking you for your version of events before deciding whether or not to prosecute you, and what law to prosecute you under. It seems like a fairly straight forward prosecution if it went to court. What act they prosecute you under will determine whether or not it is on your CRB, but if you do make an out-of-court settlement then that will not be on your CRB.

Your letter should give your version of events, apologise, and say that you have become familiar with the ticketing regulations and won't be doing it again. You should offer to pay the full price for your ticket and all reasonable costs.
 

trc666

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If I remember correctly, don't most TVMs ask you to confirm if you are in possession of the railcard for the discount you have selected before the payment stage? I know they definitely do when purchasing child tickets to ensure the person is aged between 5 and 15.
 

221129

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If I remember correctly, don't most TVMs ask you to confirm if you are in possession of the railcard for the discount you have selected before the payment stage? I know they definitely do when purchasing child tickets to ensure the person is aged between 5 and 15.

I dont know what machines you've used but i have never seen one do that.
 

SVK

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...Your letter should give your version of events, apologise, and say that you have become familiar with the ticketing regulations and won't be doing it again. You should offer to pay the full price for your ticket and all reasonable costs.
Thank you for the advice.

Because that assumption can land you in a lot of trouble in most places in the world. I've used public transport systems in a variety, many of which offer a range of discounts on ticket machines. I only select one if I've studied the system and know I'm entitled to it - I don't assume anything.


Also, I only came here for advice not to be told off. I always pay for my travels, and never boarded a train or a bus without a ticket or my oyster. Telling me off is not helping me any further.
 

ian13

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I can very much see how this could arise. Having an oyster card could easily lead you to think you have a 'railcard', and then being between the ages of 16-25 doesn't make choosing the '16-25 railcard' option especially unlikely.

The issue is, a penalty fare can only be issued if the passenger can pay there and then, or at a minimum the fare they should have paid at the time. They are discretionary, and settle the matter there. Given this didn't happen, you've been referred to the prosecutions department.

Due to these events, you travelled without a valid ticket (a railcard discounted ticket without the railcard present is invalid). Additionally, you did not have means to pay for a valid ticket (assuming you were offered the option to pay by card, but were unable to?). A prosecution might very well be successful, and depending on the law you are prosecuted under, could appear on a CRB.

You should consider outlining your confusion in your correspondence, apologising for your mistake, and offer to pay the fare plus admin fees (which could be in excess of £100) to settle out-of-court.
 

ainsworth74

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If I remember correctly, don't most TVMs ask you to confirm if you are in possession of the railcard for the discount you have selected before the payment stage?

I've used quite a few different TVMs and I've never been prompted to confirm that I carry the railcard which I'm using to discount the ticket (though that might not be a bad idea to include such a prompt!).

SVK, as other's have outlined so far they're writing to you to determine your version of the events that transpired. I suggest that your letter includes an outline of your confusion, the fact that you've now educated yourself to avoid future mistakes, apologize for the incident itself and also offer to pay not only the fare outstanding but also any administrative costs that they've encountered. I would then strongly advise you to ask Yorkie to proof read it as he is very experienced is these matters.
 

SVK

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...You should consider outlining your confusion in your correspondence, apologising for your mistake, and offer to pay the fare plus admin fees (which could be in excess of £100) to settle out-of-court.

Thank you for giving me more details about settling out of court. How much exactly would this go up to?



I've used quite a few different TVMs and I've never been prompted to confirm that I carry the railcard which I'm using to discount the ticket (though that might not be a bad idea to include such a prompt!).

SVK, as other's have outlined so far they're writing to you to determine your version of the events that transpired. I suggest that your letter includes an outline of your confusion, the fact that you've now educated yourself to avoid future mistakes, apologize for the incident itself and also offer to pay not only the fare outstanding but also any administrative costs that they've encountered. I would then strongly advise you to ask Yorkie to proof read it as he is very experienced is these matters.

I will, thank you again for your answer.
 

yorkie

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SVK - can you please type your replies below the quote. Thanks :) (I have fixed your posts)

As discussed, feel free to send me your letter if you would like me to proof read it.

I don't think anyone can say an exact amount, but there are other threads (though each case is, of course, very different to another case!) where amounts are disclosed. They do seem to vary quite considerably. At this early stage, and for a relatively straightforward matter, it shouldn't be on the high end of the scale though.

Edit - having proof read the letter, it's a good letter, and I think you have a reasonable prospect of reaching an acceptable settlement. I only suggested minor changes.

Good luck and let us know the result!
 

MikeWh

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SVK. I'm going to jump to an assumption and suggest that you are possibly confused between a fine and a penalty fare. This is a very common confusion. An ordinary person will often perceive a higher than normal charge as a fine. However, legally a fine can only be imposed by a court. To get round this, TOCs are allowed to issue penalty fares to people who make genuine mistakes. Whilst it is a penalty it is still only a fare.

You may have had a penalty fare to start with, I can't be certain from what's been said in the thread, but it's gone past that now. I wish you good luck with your letter.
 

SVK

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SVK. I'm going to jump to an assumption and suggest that you are possibly confused between a fine and a penalty fare. This is a very common confusion. An ordinary person will often perceive a higher than normal charge as a fine. However, legally a fine can only be imposed by a court. To get round this, TOCs are allowed to issue penalty fares to people who make genuine mistakes. Whilst it is a penalty it is still only a fare.

You may have had a penalty fare to start with, I can't be certain from what's been said in the thread, but it's gone past that now. I wish you good luck with your letter.

Thank you Mike, I was indeed confused about them. I probably was offered that before the letter.
 

scotsman

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Thank you Mike, I was indeed confused about them. I probably was offered that before the letter.

Would it be fare to say that:

The Inspector offered you a penalty fare?
and
When you told him you didn't have the money to pay, he took a statement?
 

andykn

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Also, I only came here for advice not to be told off. I always pay for my travels, and never boarded a train or a bus without a ticket or my oyster. Telling me off is not helping me any further.

The comment wasn't addressed to you and was advice to the person it was addressed to.
 
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