Fare Evasion

Barristers at 5 Paper Buildings understand the anxiety caused by facing prosecution for fare evasion. Often our clients are wholly unfamiliar with the court system, and are concerned about the serious implications of having a criminal conviction on their future careers and ability to travel.

Using our considerable experience of these cases, we are able to help you through the process from beginning to end. 

We have successfully negotiated out of court resolutions with many of the most prevalent transport companies, such as Transport for London, London Underground, First Capital Connect and South West Trains. Many of the cases that have gone to court have resulted in our client being found not guilty, and recouping the costs of the case.

 

The importance of early advice

If a transport operator prosecutes you for fare evasion, you may find yourself lumbered with a criminal record. For those who work in particular professions, such as the financial sector or with vulnerable people, you will have to disclose this conviction to your employer even after it has become ‘spent’. Some employers, particularly within banking and finance, have a policy of terminating the employment of anyone who is convicted of an offence. In addition, a conviction for fare evasion can impact a client’s ability to travel and work in the US, and elsewhere. A moment’s mistake can therefore have serious, far-reaching consequences.

However, it is often possible to resolve an allegation of fare evasion without ever having to go to court. This can only be achieved through sending carefully drafted representations to the transport provider.

The barristers at 5 Paper Buildings regularly draft representations on behalf of their clients with a view to achieving an out of court resolution. This enables the transport provider to reclaim the costs of the fare evaded, and their administrative costs, while the client avoids being convicted.  

 

Going to court

Sometimes, the transport provider refuses to resolve the matter out of court. This can be because of the long period of time over which the client is said to have evaded fares, or the high value of the fare(s) involved.

There are two options when you are summonsed to court. In the first instance, we will always renew our written representations to try to resolve the matter prior to the hearing. If we do go to court, your 5 Paper Buildings barrister will have a conference to advise you on whether to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. The decision is always yours, however we will use our experience of these cases to advise you on how to achieve the best possible outcome, and the likelihood of you being acquitted after trial.

If you plead guilty, all you will need to do at court is confirm your identification and enter your plea; your barrister will do the rest to ensure that the sentence you receive is as low as possible.

If you plead not guilty, your barrister will represent you at trial. Barristers at 5 Paper Buildings have a strong record of securing not guilty verdicts after trial.

 

Examples of cases:

TfL v Y: TfL alleged that the client had evaded the fare to and from work every day for several months. The client worked for a large investment bank, and his employment contract included a provision that he was likely to lose his job if he were convicted of any offence. Despite the long period of time over which the evasion had occurred, and the high value involved, the prosecution were persuaded by written representations prepared by the client’s barrister to drop the criminal case. The client repaid the fare evaded, and purchased a season ticket to avoid the risk of further evasion in the future. 

Southwest Trains v B: The client was worried about the implications of having a conviction on his immigration status. Following written representations prepared by the 5 Paper Buildings Barrister, the prosecution agreed to discontinue the proceedings against the client. The client repaid the value of the fare evaded and a small administrative fee to the transport provider.

LU v S: London Underground refused to discontinue the prosecution against our client. The 5 Paper Buildings barrister wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the case, and the DPP agreed that the Crown Prosecution Service should take over the prosecution, and that the case should be discontinued as it was not in the public interest.

TfL v S: Our client was acquitted after trial. TfL alleged that he had used his father’s freedom pass in order to evade the fare for his journey. His barrister prepared legal argument so that comments he made to the ticket inspector were excluded from the prosecution’s evidence. At the end of the trial, the magistrates agreed with his barrister’s reasons and found him not guilty. The barrister successfully applied for a Defence Costs Order, so the client reclaimed his legal costs and the costs incurred by attending the hearing.

TfL v E: TfL alleged that our client had used her father’s freedom pass over the course of several months. Using the prosecution’s own evidence, the defence barrister was able to show the magistrates that it was not possible for the client to have used the card as TfL alleged. The client was acquitted after trial, and recouped her legal costs.

For Fare Evasion direct access enquiries see www.fareevasiondefencelawyers.com