Can you get a criminal record for Fare Evasion?
If you are found guilty by a court or plead guilty, you will have a criminal conviction. However, not all train companies rely on the same laws to prosecute you, which can impact on you differently.
You will normally receive a letter from the train company asking for you to set out your mitigation. If they proceed with a prosecution, you will receive a court summons by post. This will either be a single justice procedure notice where you will have 21 days to plead guilty or not guilty, or you will receive a hearing date to attend court.
If you are prosecuted by a train company outside of TFL, such as Southeastern Railways or Govia Thameslink, you are likely to be charged under Regulation of Railways Act 1889. If you are found to be guilty of the offence or you plead guilty, this will give you a criminal record. This will appear on a DBS check both standard and enhanced.
If you are prosecuted by TFL, you are likely to be charged under railway byelaws. If you are found guilty or plead guilty, this will not appear on a standard DBS check but can appear on an enhanced check.
In most professional vocations, it will be a term in your contract of employment or staff handbook that you must disclose any criminal convictions. This will also be a requirement under most code of conducts if you have a regulatory membership. Should you disclose this, disciplinary proceedings are likely to proceed with a charge of gross misconduct which could result in dismissal.
Manak Solicitors can assist you in avoiding a conviction to minimise any impact on your life. You will find us to be understanding, have an eye for detail and well placed to consider your case and the best approach to take.
Contact Samir Moftah, our very experienced fare evasion solicitor who has assisted countless clients over many years.
Is Fare Evasion a crime?
The short answer is yes.
Fare evasion is where an individual does not purchase a ticket for a journey or uses a card belonging to another or a discount card to which they are not entitled to. The most common scenarios we as lawyers come across is misusing a freedom pass, misusing a student discount card or only paying for part of a journey.
When you are a stopped by a travel inspector, they have the power to caution and interview you at the scene. If you do not comply with their requests, they are able to contact the British Transport Police to arrest you. They will confirm your identification.
You do not need to answer any questions apart from identifying yourself if you do not wish to do so, however, it is often best to comply with the process and be co-operative.
The Railway company do have the powers to summons you to a criminal court for not having a valid ticket. This will be a prosecution carried out by them in a Magistrates Court. If found guilty by a court, you can be fined up to a £1,000 and receive a criminal record.
It is important to take fare evasion seriously as this can have a big impact on your home and work life.
We recommend that clients contact us as soon as they receive a letter or summons from the train company so that we can assist. We will be able to analyse and set out your legal position clearly, assess your mitigation and recommend a way forward in order to resolve your matter.
If an out of court settlement is agreed, this will avoid a criminal conviction and record. There is a real need to consider the train companies prosecution policy and assessing how your circumstances fit the policy. We will explore in depth with you your circumstances so that your best case is argued to obtain you a favourable outcome.
How long does a criminal record for Fare Evasion last?
To have a criminal record for fare evasion, you must be found guilty of an offence or plead guilty at Court. This is done in various forms such as responding to a single justice procedure notice or pleading guilty in person at a court hearing.
Different rail providers bring different charges under different laws depending on the circumstances. There are two most common laws used when prosecuting that we say time and time again.
If you are charged under Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and are found guilty, you will have a criminal record for a year if you receive the typical sentence which would be a fine.
How long a conviction remains on your record is governed by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, within England and Wales.
This will appear on a standard and enhanced DBS check.
If you are found guilty or plead guilty under a Railway Byelaw, this will result in a criminal record for a year if you have received a fine only. A Byelaw does not appear on standard DBS checks but can appear on an enhanced check.
Most employers or regulatory bodies will require disclosure of a conviction in any event which can result in loss of employment or loss of the right to practise within certain careers.
When applying for a new job, you must carefully consider the question asked of you. Most employers will not require spent convictions to be disclosed, but in certain professions they will be required.
We would urge you to contact us to help you avoid a criminal record. You will find us sympathetic, knowledgeable and proactive. We will analyse your case and put together the best strategy for your case to give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.