Used spouse’s seasons ticket and got caught

Worrier

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Hi all,

Need some advice

I wont go in the full detail but briefly I was caught using my husband’s seasons ticket by a Northern Rail employee. I have now received a letter to give my side of the story.

I went through Railway Regulation and it clearly falls under Regulation of Railways Act 1889, 5 (3), intent to avoid payment

I am now very stressed as having a criminal record will have a huge impact on my career. Cant believe how I did that, it wasn’t intentional, I was just very stupid and ignorant, but its impossible to prove that now.
I have decided to state full facts in my reply to them, showing my remorse with assurance that thus wont happen in future and an offer to pay their administrative costs and my due fare and any fine.

If I manage to get an out of court settlement, will I still get a criminal record as it was breach of Regulation of Railways Act 1889, 5 (3), intent to avoid payment??

Any help/advice/guidance/reassurance will be greatly appreciated!
 
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yorkie

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If I manage to get an out of court settlement, will I still get a criminal record as it was breach of Regulation of Railways Act 1889, 5 (3), intent to avoid payment??
If it is settled out of court there is no criminal record and the train company gets to keep the settlement amount
 

Worrier

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If it is settled out of court there is no criminal record and the train company gets to keep the settlement amount
Thanks thats reassuring as thats my only hope now, to get them to try and settle this out of court. It does say on Northern’s website that they try their best to settle matters outside of court and that court is the last resort, but that does depend on the circumstances of the offence and the circumstances will definitely not be in my favour :(
 

Bertie the bus

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Just a tip. If you want them to believe you are sorry and it won’t happen again then it is best to be completely truthful. Unless you both have season tickets and you inadvertently picked up the wrong one then it isn’t true that it was unintentional and being untruthful isn’t coming clean.
 

Worrier

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What happened was my husband had this seasons ticket which he wasn’t even using anymore (although its still valid), because he changed jobs and decided to start driving to work but was too lazy to cancel it

I normally drive to work as well, on this particular occasion I had a workshop to attend in Manchester, decided to take the train and then thought, why not use this ticket that we are paying for anyway and not even using. It was without the photo id as my husband is not even using it.
At Manchester Piccadilly I went through the manned barrier (could have easily avoided that but was stupid enough to not realise what I was doing was wrong)
I was stopped by the Northern employee there who said where is the id, i said i don’t have it, he had a closer look at the ticket and this ticket doesn’t look right (this ticket was a replaced one as my husband had once lost the original one so did look a bit dodgy), in order to help him confirm the authenticity of the ticket I provided him my husband’s name, date of birth and our address (i know it sounds daft) he took the details and said you’ll be contacted via post, and let me go. When I told my husband he was shocked himself how I could be that stupid
So now I have not only travelled without a valid ticket but also provided false details
This bit about providing my husband’s details is worrying me more now, as I have no idea how to explain that in the letter, if I state what was actually in my mind at that time, they wont believe I am being truthfull



Any ideas/tips on how to tackle that?
 

najaB

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I normally drive to work as well, on this particular occasion I had a workshop to attend in Manchester, decided to take the train and then thought, why not use this ticket that we are paying for anyway and not even using. It was without the photo id as my husband is not even using it.
As I'm sure you have now figured out, a season ticket can only be used by the person to whom it was issued.
This bit about providing my husband’s details is worrying me more now, as I have no idea how to explain that in the letter, if I state what was actually in my mind at that time, they wont believe I am being truthfull
You best course of action is to be truthful, admit that you used the ticket and that you gave false details because you were panicked. Then offer to make recompense and promise to never do it again.
 

some bloke

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If you post a draft of your reply with identifying details removed, people on here can comment on it. It usually helps if the reply is concise, so that readers can see important points easily.
I have now received a letter to give my side of the story.
How much time do you have to reply?
having a criminal record will have a huge impact on my career.
Many people think that, as you can see from threads on here, and then find out that the usual effects in their line of work aren't anywhere near as bad as they think. You may be able to check, for example, the requirements of a professional organisation online. A union may provide some free legal advice, which may also be available through such things as a bank account or home insurance.

Where it is particularly important to avoid the risk of conviction, some people would hire a solicitor who deals with crime. This is a personal decision depending on finances, risk aversion and so on. Although consulting a solicitor early is often not necessary, the usefulness may be more if you are reluctant to provide some details here (because, apart from anything else, you are giving the solicitor more information than us). Some provide a free initial consultation.
if I state what was actually in my mind at that time, they wont believe I am being truthfull
There could be mitigating circumstances, but it is important not to overstate these. It may be important to be clear where you have responsibility for your actions and intentions.
 
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Worrier

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Many thanks for all your input.
I have 14 days to reply. On one hand I just want to get it over with so this agonising wait would end, but I also want to give a good thought to what I write. I will post a draft of my reply to get some useful input.

I work in Healthcare and any sort of criminal record will have an impact on my career :(
 

najaB

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I work in Healthcare and any sort of criminal record will have an impact on my career
You'll need to confirm this with your professional body, but I'd be surprised if a single conviction for fare evasion would have a major impact on your career.
 

Worrier

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I am posting a draft of my reply, I’ll appreciate any advice on whether to add anything

I understand I have been sent this letter to ascertain the authenticity of the ticket I travelled with on Monday the 18th of November. Please find attached season ticket along with a photographic ID.

To give you the full count of the events. I was travelling on my husband’s annual season ticket which he bought last year when he had a job in Manchester, now he works in Bolton and drives there and does not use his season ticket, he inquired to cancel the ticket to get a refund but found out within 12 weeks of expiry you don’t get a refund. I normally drive to work and had a one-off conference on Monday the 18th of November in Mcdonald hotel in Manchester, I thought I make use of it and travelled on it on the day without my husband’s knowledge, not realising the seriousness of the matter until I approached the Railway official and showed my ticket to him. I panicked when he started questioning me, and gave him my husband’s details.

I and my husband are both law abiding citizens/professionals, either of us get prosecuted it can have far reaching consequences for both of us, may result in job termination and an end to our careers.

Please accept my sincere apologies and I can assure you I have learnt my lesson and assure you not to do it again. I appreciate it has cost you time, effort and admin hours. I am happy to bear the cost of the fair on the day plus the time, effort and admin cost to you and any other penalty charges
 

najaB

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That's more or less what I'd suggest sending, just a couple of small suggestions.
I and my husband are both law abiding citizens/professionals, either of us get prosecuted it can have far reaching consequences for both of us, may result in job termination and an end to our careers.
With respect, the specifics of what may happen to you as a result of a prosecution is of little concern to the TOC. You can cut this down to say something along the lines of "I am anxious to avoid increasing your costs and to minimise the consequences of my thoughtless actions."
I am happy to bear the cost of the fair on the day plus the time, effort and admin cost to you and any other penalty charges
Spelling: "fare" rather than "fair". Grammar: "I would like to offer to..." rather than "I'm happy to..." - you shouldn't be happy to be in this situation.
 

Brissle Girl

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It might seem a bit pedantic but there are quite a few further grammatical mistakes that, if I were the recipient, would contradict the statement that you are both professionals. I wouldn’t say you are law-abiding either, as clearly you have intentionally broken the law, so that would just wind me up if I read it.

There’s also a contradiction in that you told us your husband was too lazy to cancel it, but state otherwise in the letter. If we don’t have the full truth here, it’s very difficult to advise you what to put in your letter.
 

najaB

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There’s also a contradiction in that you told us your husband was too lazy to cancel it, but state otherwise in the letter. If we don’t have the full truth here, it’s very difficult to advise you what to put in your letter.
It's not necessarily a contradiction - I'm assuming that by the time he got round to requesting the refund it was too late.
 

some bloke

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This bit about providing my husband’s details is worrying me more now...if I state what was actually in my mind at that time, they wont believe I am being truthfull

Any ideas/tips on how to tackle that?
If you say what was in your mind, it may be easier to give advice on whether you could improve that part of the draft.
 

Worrier

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If you say what was in your mind, it may be easier to give advice on whether you could improve that part of the draft.
I was trying to help him check the authenticity of the ticket, i gave him my husband’s name and date of birth so he can search on his database that he has been issued a valid ticket, at that point i didn’t feel like using my husband’s ticket is that serious an issue as long as its valid, also i was getting late and was caught up in that unexpected situation, just wanted to get it over with, wasn’t thinking clearly
 

some bloke

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Thank you. Have you considered these options? By "professional organisation" I mean such as the NMC, in contrast to a union such as the RCN which would offer legal advice.

You may be able to check, for example, the requirements of a professional organisation online. A union may provide some free legal advice, which may also be available through such things as a bank account or home insurance.

Where it is particularly important to avoid the risk of conviction, some people would hire a solicitor who deals with crime. This is a personal decision depending on finances, risk aversion and so on. Although consulting a solicitor early is often not necessary, the usefulness may be more if you are reluctant to provide some details here (because, apart from anything else, you are giving the solicitor more information than us). Some provide a free initial consultation.
 

some bloke

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My uninformed guess is that a union would also provide advice on possible/likely effects (or lack of effects) of a conviction on employment prospects - which is a different question from the formal requirements of a professional body.
 

Worrier

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My uninformed guess is that a union would also provide advice on possible/likely effects (or lack of effects) of a conviction on employment prospects - which is a different question from the formal requirements of a professional body.

I have not checked with them yet, as if you provide them with such information, they have a legal binding to inform your professional body, that seems premature yet until i know what route the TOC will take once they receive my letter, if they want to take the matter to court, then I will have to inform my professional body anyway
 

Skimpot flyer

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Just for clarity, are you the same sex as your husband? I’m assuming the person on the gateline would know immediately that it could not be your ticket, if a woman gives a male ticket-holder’s name and address in such circumstances as you describe
 

Worrier

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Just for clarity, are you the same sex as your husband? I’m assuming the person on the gateline would know immediately that it could not be your ticket, if a woman gives a male ticket-holder’s name and address in such circumstances as you describe
We are not the same sex, but its an arabic name so i think he couldn’t tell the difference
 

some bloke

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if you provide them with such information, they have a legal binding to inform your professional body
I'm surprised at the idea that a union is obliged to report an inquiry from someone who hasn't been charged. A general inquiry wouldn't even need information about the case. Is the obligation online? It might be of interest to other people.

If the inquiry was while consulting a solicitor (solicitors whose services are offered by the union might know about employers' practices), it's not clear how it would be the union's business to know about it, or why a solicitor would have any such obligation.
 
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Worrier

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I'm surprised at the idea that a union is obliged to report an inquiry from someone who hasn't been charged. A general inquiry wouldn't even need information about the case. Is the obligation online? It might be of interest to other people.

If the inquiry was while consulting a solicitor (solicitors whose services are offered by the union might know about employers' practices), it's not clear how it would be the union's business to know about it, or why a solicitor would have any such obligation.
You are right, i think that would be the case if I was already charged. I read this on their online page.
 

some bloke

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As you may be aware, the professional body may also require you to tell your employer if you are charged - it's required under NMC Code paragraph 23.2.

That may be another consideration in deciding whether, and if so when, to consult a solicitor.
 

some bloke

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Why involve the union?
Because they offer free legal advice that could be more useful the earlier it is sought; and because @Worrier expressed a concern about future employment prospects which the union may be able to offer reassurance about.

These are options rather than recommendations. Some people may find it easier or more helpful to discuss things in person, and @Worrier said she was reluctant to write some details here.

The issue of the union knowing about the case doesn't arise if it's a general inquiry or if it's to a solicitor.
 
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Haywain

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I believe that some trade unions offer free confidential legal advice to members. If it's confidential they can't then tell an employer about the enquiry.
 

some bloke

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I understand I have been sent this letter to ascertain the authenticity of the ticket
Is it your husband who's been sent the letter?
I provided him my husband’s name, date of birth and our address...he took the details and said you’ll be contacted
Maybe if it's addressed to him, it would help to provide a covering letter from him, or a letter from both of you.

You want to minimise the risk of the company acting on beliefs:

a) that your husband may have known (which might seem less spontaneous and more deliberate) and/or that

b) you may have used it over an extended period (for example at weekends after your husband used it during the week).

Even if they have no evidence of either of those, they might deal with a known single instance differently if they think it's more likely it's happened before.

Hopefully you can avoid/mitigate these potential problems, but it may be good to be aware. Getting everything straight and being as helpful as possible may help persuade them to be lenient.
 
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