On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in criminal law on Thursday, September 6, 2018.

A traffic stop could have many results. For some, this may mean receiving a warning. For others, it could mean getting a citation. And for some, it means being charged with additional crimes unrelated to the traffic stop. This is what recently happened in Riverside.

According to reports, Riverside County law enforcement officers charged a man after a traffic stop turned up lemons in his vehicle. While certainly, having a few lemons in one’s car is not suspicious, police say the man actually had several hundred pounds, over of quarter of a ton, of the fruit in bags. This fruit had reportedly been taken from a farm in the vicinity, although it wasn’t clear how police deduced that.

Police in the area had been investigating a rash of thefts from local farms. While one might not think about it, hauling away the fruit of a farmer’s labor in order to sell it for one’s self is a form of stealing, in part because the farm was counting on the revenue from the produce. Police, who charged the man with theft of agricultural products, did not explain what prompted them to stop the man’s vehicle in the first place.

While the theft of food growing in fields may present some special issues, in many ways, these sorts of charges are the same as other types of theft charges. Police and prosecutors will have to prove that the alleged contraband was indeed taken without permission, and they will also have to prove who took it and if they did so with what is called criminal intent.

It is admittedly an unusual case, but this man is still going to want to weigh his options carefully with the help of an attorney who has knowledge of criminal law. It is important for defendants to consider negotiations with the prosecutor to work out a reasonable resolution to the charges faced, helping to avoid the most severe consequences. On the other hand, a defendant could elect to defend him or herself at a trial.