Will I be convicted if Fare Evasion?

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baechuke

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Im a second year uni student doing nursing. I had a railcard from my first year that I didn’t realise was expired (its been expired for about 3 months now).

My first travel to uni was a few weeks ago, ticket inspector asked for my ticket but never asked to see my railcard (I purchased a ticket with a 16-25 railcard discount) and I thought nothing of it. It never came to my mind. Just now this afternoon however I was travelling back home but she asked to see my railcard, I then panicked and realise it’s probably expired. I showed it to her anyway and she said “It’s expired, did you renew it” I said “I thought I did I didn’t realise though, but no I didn’t renew it” she then said that this is an offence and started to take my details, and even asked for my height. I felt like a criminal.

She told me my ticket is not valid, and I then offered to pay the full price of a ticket to which she declined and continued taking my details. I then got issued with a ‘zero pay’ ticket and told me to expect a letter and advised me “not to ignore it”.

I googled the consequences of this and I found that the worst case is being fined up to £1000 and end up having a criminal record! And I would have to pay for prosecution and court fees which I can’t afford since I am a student, but this will fall onto my parents. I feel absolutely AWFUL and I can’t concentrate on anything else! This will ruin my whole life and career. I know I should have been more careful and double check my railcard, my family and friends have said the same thing, but I can’t believe that a silly mistake like that can ruin the rest of my life and my desired career that I worked so hard for. I was lazy and misjudged and didn’t think carefully. I also thought that maybe my railcard was fine since the first man never asked for it. However, this is technically the second time I’ve done this since the first time I wasn’t fully aware (as he didnt check my railcard) so this would be a disadvantage.

I’m not used to this at all and thought of myself as a good character, never got into trouble in school, studied hard and always abide the law. Im sooo worried. Has this happened to anyone else? I have contacted a solicitor who will contact me tomorrow.
 
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Fawkes Cat

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Welcome to the forum.

There's a lot that could be said here, but the main message is that even if the worst comes to the worst, it's not the end of the world - and probably not of your career. So don't panic.

Let's start with some bad news. On what you have told us, you are guilty of an offence: the railway byelaws say that if you can get the right ticket to travel then you should (for regular contributors - I'm paraphrasing byelaw 18). If you are taken to court, you should plead guilty.

But there's some better news: you probably won't be taken to court. Most likely, the railway (or their agents - a lot of train companies employ a firm called Transport Investigations Limited) will write to you and ask if there is anything you want to tell them. They may ask if you did have a Railcard but had left it at home. You should reply to this letter honestly, apologetically and briefly. You might also want to now buy a student Railcard - not because it will make this problem go away, but to show that you don't intend to make the same mistake again.

With a bit of luck, the railway will accept your explanation and ask you to pay the train fare you should have paid, plus their administrative costs (which could be a couple of hundred pounds but hopefully will be less) instead of going to court. If they offer that, it keeps the whole thing out of court and you have no criminal record to worry about.

But the railway are entitled to take you to court. If they do, then you should probably tell your university at that point: they should be able to tell you if you also need to tell the NMC. More on this below.

If you are taken to court, and convicted (that is, you plead guilty or are found guilty) then you will face a fine, plus compensation (the fare you should have paid) plus court costs. This will probably come to more than the settlement that may have been offered earlier - although it is highly unlikely that the fine will be the maximum £1,000. You will also *have* to tell your university and the NMC at this point (regular readers - the OP is a nurse. My understanding is that for nursing all convictions must be declared and they don't expire under the Rehabilitation of Offenders rules). Both your university and the NMC will need to consider what you have done - but since forgetting that your Railcard had expired looks much more like a mistake than anything deliberate (and in my view does not suggest carelessness that could amount to negligence) I would expect that you will continue on your course and into employment as a nurse.

In short - don't panic. Co-operate with the railway and everything will probably be fine.
 

LCC106

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I am no expert in these matters but I think all you can do is sit and wait, see what you get sent in the post and respond to it promptly, using "signed for" postage so you can trace your response. Once you have received the letter from the company, upload a copy to this page with your personal details covered up for other forum members to help. It could take, I THINK, up to 6 months before you receive anything so try not to think about it for now. If you are a member of a union it might be worth talking to someone about this matter. EDIT - Fawkes Cat knows what he's talking about. His post arrived while I was posting.
 

Haywain

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Has this happened to anyone else? I have contacted a solicitor who will contact me tomorrow.
Yes, it has happened to others - you will be able to find quite a few similar cases by looking through this forum. You really can handle all this without the assistance and expense of a solicitor, and should deal with the matter as @Fawkes Cat has suggested in their excellent post above.
 

baechuke

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Welcome to the forum.

There's a lot that could be said here, but the main message is that even if the worst comes to the worst, it's not the end of the world - and probably not of your career. So don't panic.

Let's start with some bad news. On what you have told us, you are guilty of an offence: the railway byelaws say that if you can get the right ticket to travel then you should (for regular contributors - I'm paraphrasing byelaw 18). If you are taken to court, you should plead guilty.

But there's some better news: you probably won't be taken to court. Most likely, the railway (or their agents - a lot of train companies employ a firm called Transport Investigations Limited) will write to you and ask if there is anything you want to tell them. They may ask if you did have a Railcard but had left it at home. You should reply to this letter honestly, apologetically and briefly. You might also want to now buy a student Railcard - not because it will make this problem go away, but to show that you don't intend to make the same mistake again.

With a bit of luck, the railway will accept your explanation and ask you to pay the train fare you should have paid, plus their administrative costs (which could be a couple of hundred pounds but hopefully will be less) instead of going to court. If they offer that, it keeps the whole thing out of court and you have no criminal record to worry about.

But the railway are entitled to take you to court. If they do, then you should probably tell your university at that point: they should be able to tell you if you also need to tell the NMC. More on this below.

If you are taken to court, and convicted (that is, you plead guilty or are found guilty) then you will face a fine, plus compensation (the fare you should have paid) plus court costs. This will probably come to more than the settlement that may have been offered earlier - although it is highly unlikely that the fine will be the maximum £1,000. You will also *have* to tell your university and the NMC at this point (regular readers - the OP is a nurse. My understanding is that for nursing all convictions must be declared and they don't expire under the Rehabilitation of Offenders rules). Both your university and the NMC will need to consider what you have done - but since forgetting that your Railcard had expired looks much more like a mistake than anything deliberate (and in my view does not suggest carelessness that could amount to negligence) I would expect that you will continue on your course and into employment as a nurse.

In short - don't panic. Co-operate with the railway and everything will probably be fine.
Hello,

thank you so much for your response which by the way is excellent and completely helpful. As of the moment, I’m too anxious and worried of what the final outcome will be and cannot concentrate on going back to living my life, at least until that letter arrives and worse case scenario, they don’t acknowledge my side and prosecute anyway.

If matters do lead up to that point, like you said, I should plead guilty. I considered that not because I am guilty with true intent to avoid paying the fare, but because it’s easier than to not plead guilty and having to pay for a solicitor, lawyer, attorney, court feed etc. I think I might have to bite the bullet.

What would you say is the likelihood of them prosecuting? Is it more of a costly thing? As I have heard it costs them more money to do a court case than to just fine me.
 
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WesternLancer

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Im a second year uni student doing nursing. I had a railcard from my first year that I didn’t realise was expired (its been expired for about 3 months now).

My first travel to uni was a few weeks ago, ticket inspector asked for my ticket but never asked to see my railcard (I purchased a ticket with a 16-25 railcard discount) and I thought nothing of it. It never came to my mind. Just now this afternoon however I was travelling back home but she asked to see my railcard, I then panicked and realise it’s probably expired. I showed it to her anyway and she said “It’s expired, did you renew it” I said “I thought I did I didn’t realise though, but no I didn’t renew it” she then said that this is an offence and started to take my details, and even asked for my height. I felt like a criminal.

She told me my ticket is not valid, and I then offered to pay the full price of a ticket to which she declined and continued taking my details. I then got issued with a ‘zero pay’ ticket and told me to expect a letter and advised me “not to ignore it”.

I googled the consequences of this and I found that the worst case is being fined up to £1000 and end up having a criminal record! And I would have to pay for prosecution and court fees which I can’t afford since I am a student, but this will fall onto my parents. I feel absolutely AWFUL and I can’t concentrate on anything else! This will ruin my whole life and career. I know I should have been more careful and double check my railcard, my family and friends have said the same thing, but I can’t believe that a silly mistake like that can ruin the rest of my life and my desired career that I worked so hard for. I was lazy and misjudged and didn’t think carefully. I also thought that maybe my railcard was fine since the first man never asked for it. However, this is technically the second time I’ve done this since the first time I wasn’t fully aware (as he didnt check my railcard) so this would be a disadvantage.

I’m not used to this at all and thought of myself as a good character, never got into trouble in school, studied hard and always abide the law. Im sooo worried. Has this happened to anyone else? I have contacted a solicitor who will contact me tomorrow.
As other have said don't pay a solicitor at this stage - better advice here I suspect - but DO prepare to seek free advice form your student union (or ask for that now) - but you will have to wait to be contacted by the railway - then also post here for advice on next stages.

Your objective now is to get a settlement that is not too expensive, and avoid court, I would suggest. The Railway probably want to do that too (although the letters you get won't say as much...)

It may be a few weeks or longer - so write down notes of what happened now (time, date, journey being made etc) and the info on your post, whilst fresh in your mind.

I trust you gave correct name and address? (it's in your favour to do so, but that is why you were asked for height details etc so they could write a brief description - some fare dodgers use other people's names - esp risk for students where people may use the names of other people in their hall of residence for example - have been cases on here - taking details then allows the honest 'victim' of this to show it was not them committing the fare evasion)

Also - it won't 'get you off' but I would suggest buying a new Railcard immediately, now - it shows that you want to 'put things right' and in my view would count in your favour when you seek to argue you had made an honest mistake and forgotten your Railcard had expired. Register your details / e-mail etc when you buy it as then you usually get a reminder on expiry.

Good luck with this - it's almost cetin that the worst case scenarios you have been warned of will not happen

also it may help if you can detail what train company service you were 'caught' on, as other examples on this forum will mean that an informed view could maybe be given on how likely they would be to follow this through to prosecution. If you are not sure then if you wish post times of train and to and from and people here can work that out for you.

Prepare for threateningly worded letters though, and do not ignore them. As I say, come back here for advice when you get a letter etc.

As I said, good luck and don't hesitate to post any other questions you may have. Plenty of advice will be given on here.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Hello,

thank you so much for your response which by the way is excellent and completely helpful. As of the moment, I’m too anxious and worried of what the final outcome will be and cannot concentrate on going back to living my life, at least until that letter arrives and worse case scenario, they don’t acknowledge my side and prosecute anyway.

If matters do lead up to that point, like you said, I should plead guilty. I considered that not because I am guilty with true intent to avoid paying the fare, but because it’s easier than to not plead guilty and having to pay for a solicitor, lawyer, attorney, court feed etc. I think I might have to bite the bullet.

What would you say is the likelihood of them prosecuting? Is it more of a costly thing? As I have heard it costs them more money to do a court case than to just fine me.

As you say, the worst case scenario is that the railway prosecute you. And it's important to keep that scenario in perspective. In the great scheme of things, not paying the proper railway fare is not the most serious thing that someone can do: in fact, it's seen as so straightforward that if you are prepared to plead guilty there's a thing call the 'Single Justice Procedure' where you plead guilty on a form they send you by post, and you get a letter back telling you what the punishment is. So if you accept that you're guilty, you can even avoid the stress of having to go to court.

And on the basis of what you've told us, if you are prosecuted under byelaw 18(1), I'm afraid you are guilty. What the byelaw says is this:

18. Ticketless travel in non-compulsory ticket areas
(1) In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a valid ticket entitling him to travel.
(source - https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/media/1058/railway-byelaws.pdf)

It's worth reading this really closely: the byelaw doesn't say anything about not intending to pay the right fare: it just says that the traveller must have a valid ticket with them. So the fact that you didn't mean to underpay the railway doesn't actually make a difference. In the jargon, this is known as a 'strict liability offence'.

(For completeness, there are other byelaws about compulsory ticket areas, and some railway companies (e.g. Merseyrail) have their own byelaws, but they all amount to the same thing.)

But I am almost certain that you will not be prosecuted for this. There can be no guarantee but in cases that we've seen here over the last few weeks, the railway has offered an out of court settlement. That means two things to you:
- firstly, for the moment, if you can then you should stop worrying: as someone has said above, there's not much you can do until the railway write to you, so make a note of everything that happened, then try to get on with your life until the railway come back to you
- none the less, don't assume that the railway will allow you to settle out of court. Anything you send to them will be looked at by a person rather than a computer, so you want to try to get that person on your side. That means writing to them politely (because no one likes to get a rude letter) and briefly (because it's not much fun trying to dig the important information out of something that rambles on for page after page). But be brief, apologetic and courteous and there's a very good chance that the railway will not take you to court.
 

baechuke

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As you say, the worst case scenario is that the railway prosecute you. And it's important to keep that scenario in perspective. In the great scheme of things, not paying the proper railway fare is not the most serious thing that someone can do: in fact, it's seen as so straightforward that if you are prepared to plead guilty there's a thing call the 'Single Justice Procedure' where you plead guilty on a form they send you by post, and you get a letter back telling you what the punishment is. So if you accept that you're guilty, you can even avoid the stress of having to go to court.

And on the basis of what you've told us, if you are prosecuted under byelaw 18(1), I'm afraid you are guilty. What the byelaw says is this:


(source - https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/media/1058/railway-byelaws.pdf)

It's worth reading this really closely: the byelaw doesn't say anything about not intending to pay the right fare: it just says that the traveller must have a valid ticket with them. So the fact that you didn't mean to underpay the railway doesn't actually make a difference. In the jargon, this is known as a 'strict liability offence'.

(For completeness, there are other byelaws about compulsory ticket areas, and some railway companies (e.g. Merseyrail) have their own byelaws, but they all amount to the same thing.)

But I am almost certain that you will not be prosecuted for this. There can be no guarantee but in cases that we've seen here over the last few weeks, the railway has offered an out of court settlement. That means two things to you:
- firstly, for the moment, if you can then you should stop worrying: as someone has said above, there's not much you can do until the railway write to you, so make a note of everything that happened, then try to get on with your life until the railway come back to you
- none the less, don't assume that the railway will allow you to settle out of court. Anything you send to them will be looked at by a person rather than a computer, so you want to try to get that person on your side. That means writing to them politely (because no one likes to get a rude letter) and briefly (because it's not much fun trying to dig the important information out of something that rambles on for page after page). But be brief, apologetic and courteous and there's a very good chance that the railway will not take you to court.
Thank you, you are absolutely brilliant and knowledgable. I’ve been writing down some points in my defence, such as not knowing my ticket was expired and the conductor in my other journey never asked, therefore I never noticed. Also it was not a priority for me to renew my railcard during these times and it was pure carelessness.

And like you said, be apologetic and recognise that this is their job and appreciate the work they do especially in these times.

Is there anything you would suggest not to put in or mention? Just in case they ask me to make a statement on my side.

Also would you happen to know if GRW come under RoRa or ByLaw?
 

furlong

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If it was GWR, it is that company's stated policy only to prosecute as a last resort, so as long as you co-operate and there are no aggravating circumstances (such as having been caught before, or being abusive or maintaining an obvious untruth) you should anticipate being able to settle it without going to court by paying them the fare they are owed plus some money to cover their costs dealing with you (£80 seems to be a typical amount they request). See the 'full policy' PDF linked at the bottom here.
 

WesternLancer

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Thank you, you are absolutely brilliant and knowledgable. I’ve been writing down some points in my defence, such as not knowing my ticket was expired and the conductor in my other journey never asked, therefore I never noticed. Also it was not a priority for me to renew my railcard during these times and it was pure carelessness.

And like you said, be apologetic and recognise that this is their job and appreciate the work they do especially in these times.

Is there anything you would suggest not to put in or mention? Just in case they ask me to make a statement on my side.

Also would you happen to know if GRW come under RoRa or ByLaw?
I would not, for example, feel the need to mention the case when a ticket check failed to ask for your railcard (even if that did not help remind you) my logic being that that is simply an admission of another situation when you did not have a valid ticket (unintentionally of course, I fully appreciate) - if you are not being asked about that occasion no need to mention it I suspect.

But of course completely fine to explain your actions simply by saying you had completely overlooked the fact that your Railcard had expired, and that this was a genuine mistake on your part - which you regret as you had no intention to claim a discount to which you were not entitled. Indeed you need to state that as that is the reason why you had an invalid ticket (ie there was no other reason like a deliberate attempt to defraud the railway company, for example).
 

baechuke

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I would not, for example, feel the need to mention the case when a ticket check failed to ask for your railcard (even if that did not help remind you) my logic being that that is simply an admission of another situation when you did not have a valid ticket (unintentionally of course, I fully appreciate) - if you are not being asked about that occasion no need to mention it I suspect.

But of course completely fine to explain your actions simply by saying you had completely overlooked the fact that your Railcard had expired, and that this was a genuine mistake on your part - which you regret as you had no intention to claim a discount to which you were not entitled. Indeed you need to state that as that is the reason why you had an invalid ticket (ie there was no other reason like a deliberate attempt to defraud the railway company, for example).

I suppose so. However, the conductor at that time said that she will need to report this and will also look into if I have done this previously.

Is there any way that they can check my previous journeys even if the journey was not with GWR? I book mine through the trainline app and always have a stop over between two trains. I’m worried they might check my previous journey and point out that I have done this before, even though, again, it was a misunderstanding.

Also - I have tried to renew my railcard (3years instead of one year so my dumbass won’t forget) however everytime I click submit it says

Invalid data in the HPP_CUSTOMER_PHONENUMBER_MOBILE field. Please contact the merchant.​


Does anyone know why? Have they temporarily postponed me from getting one?
 
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ta-toget

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Invalid data in the HPP_CUSTOMER_PHONENUMBER_MOBILE field. Please contact the merchant.​


Does anyone know why? Have they temporarily postponed me from getting one?
I think that is just a technical error, I don't think you need to worry about it.
 

SickyNicky

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Invalid data in the HPP_CUSTOMER_PHONENUMBER_MOBILE field. Please contact the merchant.​

This looks like a Global Payments error, using their hosted payment solution. We use that as well. Global Payments seem to be rejecting the mobile number suppied (if indeed there was one).
 

WesternLancer

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I would not, for example, feel the need to mention the case when a ticket check failed to ask for your railcard (even if that did not help remind you) my logic being that that is simply an admission of another situation when you did not have a valid ticket (unintentionally of course, I fully appreciate) - if you are not being asked about that occasion no need to mention it I suspect.

But of course completely fine to explain your actions simply by saying you had completely overlooked the fact that your Railcard had expired, and that this was a genuine mistake on your part - which you regret as you had no intention to claim a discount to which you were not entitled. Indeed you need to state that as that is the reason why you had an invalid ticket (ie there was no other reason like a deliberate attempt to defraud the railway company, for example).
I think they could potentially track a train line booked ticket and compare it against the railcard database to show that you did not have a valid card at the time you bought that ticket - but my hunch is (and I don't work on the railways, it's just my hunch) they would only do this if they wanted to check for persistent fare evasion type of thing.

Now I think you are an honest person so I think you have 2 options:

a) If they ask you 'did you travel on any other occasion without a valid railcard on a discounted ticket?' you can check your records and answer honestly. An honest answer to a question asked when / if it is asked.

or

b) if they do not ask you, you could volunteer the information - eg "after it was pointed out to me my Railcard had expired I realized that I had made the mistake earlier on date X when I travelled from a to b. I would also like to make a payment in respect of money owed for that travel"

That's up to you, but may be worth seeing what other forum members think on this point.
 

30907

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I think they could potentially track a train line booked ticket and compare it against the railcard database to show that you did not have a valid card at the time you bought that ticket - but my hunch is (and I don't work on the railways, it's just my hunch) they would only do this if they wanted to check for persistent fare evasion type of thing.
My hunch is similar: you have been "caught," as many people are (with or without excuse); GWR want you not to do it again, and to cover the costs of investigating (or make some money). They are not interested in anything else - as long as you don't come to their attention again.
 

Rockhopper

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You often get errors like that if you've put a space in your mobile phone number.
 

baechuke

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My hunch is similar: you have been "caught," as many people are (with or without excuse); GWR want you not to do it again, and to cover the costs of investigating (or make some money). They are not interested in anything else - as long as you don't come to their attention again.
I hope that is the case. She advised me not to ignore the letter, she didn’t say anything about paying a fine or a penalty fare.

This looks like a Global Payments error, using their hosted payment solution. We use that as well. Global Payments seem to be rejecting the mobile number suppied (if indeed there was one).
Yes I did provide a mobile number
 

Cloud Strife

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With a bit of luck, the railway will accept your explanation and ask you to pay the train fare you should have paid, plus their administrative costs (which could be a couple of hundred pounds but hopefully will be less) instead of going to court

This does seem incredibly disproportionate where a first time offence is concerned, especially given that a railcard was previously held and in light of the current circumstances.

IMO, they really should have systems to check whether someone is known to them for fare evasion, and if it's a first time offender or if they haven't offended in several years, it should be enough to simply sell them the right ticket there and then.
 

CyrusWuff

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This does seem incredibly disproportionate where a first time offence is concerned, especially given that a railcard was previously held and in light of the current circumstances.
Had the Railcard recently expired, I expect they would have been more lenient. As it was months after expiry, the TOC would likely be wondering (rightly or wrongly) how many more times the OP had travelled just because it was the first time they'd been "caught", so would lean towards harsher treatment.
 

Gloster

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Up the creek
I would presume that the course has gone to on-line learning and the OP has not needed to go to the campus. That is the reason why the OP had not travelled and therefore had not noticed that the card had run out. If this is correct, then documentary proof of the change to on-line learning might assist the OP’s case.

I am not an expert, so leave it to others to comment on the above.
 

Bungle158

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To the OP

As a former guard, l know that most rail staff are decent folk. l believe that many TOCs only prosecute as a last resort in first offence cases. Third party investigation services can be a little heavy handed, but even they would rather have quick results than a day out in court. You may be stressed and worried, but if this is indeed a one off, l don't think you need fear court action. Good luck
 

Haywain

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IMO, they really should have systems to check whether someone is known to them for fare evasion, and if it's a first time offender or if they haven't offended in several years, it should be enough to simply sell them the right ticket there and then.
How would they know the difference between a first time offender and someone who just hasn’t been caught before?
 

baechuke

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I would presume that the course has gone to on-line learning and the OP has not needed to go to the campus. That is the reason why the OP had not travelled and therefore had not noticed that the card had run out. If this is correct, then documentary proof of the change to on-line learning might assist the OP’s case.

I am not an expert, so leave it to others to comment on the above.

yes, I only needed to go to campus because we had a simulation to attend.

To the OP

As a former guard, l know that most rail staff are decent folk. l believe that many TOCs only prosecute as a last resort in first offence cases. Third party investigation services can be a little heavy handed, but even they would rather have quick results than a day out in court. You may be stressed and worried, but if this is indeed a one off, l don't think you need fear court action. Good luck
I do hope not. And when you say last resort, do you mean for example, the offender refuses to pay the penalty fee and therefore matters must lead to court?
 

Bungle158

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yes, I only needed to go to campus because we had a simulation to attend.


I do hope not. And when you say last resort, do you mean for example, the offender refuses to pay the penalty fee and therefore matters must lead to court?
Reading back, l own that my post was not as concise as it should have been. A Penalty Fare is offered as a quick and relatively informal remedy for fare irregularities. You pay it and the matter is disposed of. Failure to pay, particularly as there is a review process built into the PF concept, can lead to a demand for a much stiffer payment, which will include an admin charge, or as a last resort, prosecution.
 

Haywain

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Reading back, l own that my post was not as concise as it should have been. A Penalty Fare is offered as a quick and relatively informal remedy for fare irregularities. You pay it and the matter is disposed of. Failure to pay, particularly as there is a review process built into the PF concept, can lead to a demand for a much stiffer payment, which will include an admin charge, or as a last resort, prosecution.
This is largely irrelevant to the OP's situation where a Penalty Fare has not been issued.

I do hope not. And when you say last resort, do you mean for example, the offender refuses to pay the penalty fee and therefore matters must lead to court?
I think you need to stop overthinking your situation - the forum has a tendency to discuss everything in much more detail than is necessary for a specific case. The advice you have been given to engage with the train company still holds good and if you do prosecution is unlikely to be the end result if you reach (and pay) a settlement with them.
 

baechuke

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This is largely irrelevant to the OP's situation where a Penalty Fare has not been issued.


I think you need to stop overthinking your situation - the forum has a tendency to discuss everything in much more detail than is necessary for a specific case. The advice you have been given to engage with the train company still holds good and if you do prosecution is unlikely to be the end result if you reach (and pay) a settlement with them.
Thanks, everyone says I should just expect some sort of fine and an explanation and to stop worrying. I’m only worrying because I’m worried about the future and how will I avoid going to court if they don’t believe me, the expenses I have to pay, should I plead guilty even if im not, etc.

I’m trying to resume back to my normal life in the mean time. I suppose only time will tell. Thanks for everyone’s help in this forum.
 

cakefiend

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Thanks, everyone says I should just expect some sort of fine and an explanation and to stop worrying. I’m only worrying because I’m worried about the future and how will I avoid going to court if they don’t believe me, the expenses I have to pay, should I plead guilty even if im not, etc.

I’m trying to resume back to my normal life in the mean time. I suppose only time will tell. Thanks for everyone’s help in this forum.
Hello, I hope that I can help put your mind at ease a bit here.

I can see several (very knowledgeable) members of the forum have gone into a lot of the 'what ifs' of ticketing issues. While it's well intentioned, it's clearly not helped your worries.

The fact is that the train company you're dealing with (GWR) don't like to prosecute people - in fact it's their policy to only do so as a last resort. We're talking about repeat offenders here, and those who won't engage with them, or try to pervert the course of justice by deliberately giving them false information. As you're co-operating with them and you've no previous history of this, this will not happen.

What will happen is that you'll get a letter, as the others have mentioned, asking for your side of events. If you concisely and politely state the circumstances, show sufficient remorse/regret/ whatever and offer to make things right, they will probably take a very lenient approach. It would take an exceptionally cold hearted person to levy a large fee on a nursing student during a pandemic, who made an honest mistake during their first train journey in several months.

For the sake of clarity, even if you replied to their letter merely stating the facts, they still wouldn't take you to court.
 

221129

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Hello, I hope that I can help put your mind at ease a bit here.

I can see several (very knowledgeable) members of the forum have gone into a lot of the 'what ifs' of ticketing issues. While it's well intentioned, it's clearly not helped your worries.

The fact is that the train company you're dealing with (GWR) don't like to prosecute people - in fact it's their policy to only do so as a last resort. We're talking about repeat offenders here, and those who won't engage with them, or try to pervert the course of justice by deliberately giving them false information. As you're co-operating with them and you've no previous history of this, this will not happen.

What will happen is that you'll get a letter, as the others have mentioned, asking for your side of events. If you concisely and politely state the circumstances, show sufficient remorse/regret/ whatever and offer to make things right, they will probably take a very lenient approach. It would take an exceptionally cold hearted person to levy a large fee on a nursing student during a pandemic, who made an honest mistake during their first train journey in several months.

For the sake of clarity, even if you replied to their letter merely stating the facts, they still wouldn't take you to court.
Unless you are the GWR prosecutions manager, You cannot state this as fact. I am aware of several instances where GWR have gone straight to court in the last few years. Yes it is unlikely, but it is possible.

I’m only worrying because I’m worried about the future and how will I avoid going to court if they don’t believe me, the expenses I have to pay, should I plead guilty even if im not, etc.
You will most likely be offered a settlement as long as you are apologetic.

should I plead guilty even if im not,
A quick note, you are guilty. It would take one hell of a solicitor to get a not guilty verdict if it went to court, which it likely won't come to.
 

30907

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Thanks, everyone says I should just expect some sort of fine and an explanation and to stop worrying. .... Thanks for everyone’s help in this forum.
A bit pedantic, but to be fined you have to be convicted in court. On this forum, people are saying you should expect an out-of-court settlement which may still be expensive but doesn't involve "the law."
 

baechuke

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Unless you are the GWR prosecutions manager, You cannot state this as fact. I am aware of several instances where GWR have gone straight to court in the last few years. Yes it is unlikely, but it is possible.


You will most likely be offered a settlement as long as you are apologetic.


A quick note, you are guilty. It would take one hell of a solicitor to get a not guilty verdict if it went to court, which it likely won't come to.
I do hope, when a letter does come, they will accept my statement and apology.
I suppose I am guilty - but without intent.

from what I have gathered on this forum and from other people is that there are a few outcomes:

1. The letter will be about just a penalty fee

2. A penalty fee and a request to send my own statement explaining my side of things (intent to prosecute letter)

3. If that doesn’t work, a letter to agree to settle this in the magistrates court OR receive a letter where I can plead guilty or not guilty (if I pleas guilty I will not be sent to court and a punishment will be decided for me, and from my understanding I will receive a criminal record. However if I don’t pleas guilty then matters will be taken to court (which I need funds for).
 
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