Do you know your rights if you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop? Knowing how Missouri police are and are not able to proceed during the course of a routine traffic stop could save you legal trouble. In some cases, drug charges can stem from an improper search of a vehicle, which requires a person to take the proper legal steps to ensure their rights are not violated any further.

One Midwestern man is attempting to bring clarity to these issues by filing a suit against law enforcement officials, whom he has accused of unreasonable seizure, false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other charges. Additionally, the man has charged that the district promotes incentives for aggressive search tactics, endangering drivers and violating their rights.

The man had been pulled over while driving on the interstate highway because he was allegedly swerving within his lane, according to officers' statements. The man works on documentary movies and happened to obtain a recording of his vehicle's search, which he then edited into an 18-minutevideo depicting his arrest. The video of the incident spread quickly on the Internet.

Officers told the man that the Interstate corridor on which he was driving is often used for drug trafficking, which is why they searched his car. The man contends, however, that officers did not have an appropriate measure of suspicion to conduct the search.

The vehicle was searched for about 15 minutes, during which time the assistance of a drug-sniffing dog was solicited. The officer is heard saying, "Show me where it's at," in relation to the supposed drugs in the vehicle, and the dog is heard barking. The man alleges that the officer prompted the dog to bark, even though only trace amounts of drugs were found on the man's floorboards.

Officers say that the video shows the proper execution of a search, but would not offer further comment on the lawsuit at the time of reports.

This case shows how important it is for cops to follow legal guidelines when conducting searches and seizures. Any evidence obtained as the result of an illegal search or seizure cannot be used during a criminal trial as evidence. When this happens, the prosecution's case will likely be damaged, possibly resulting in the charges being severely reduced or thrown out entirely.

Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Collinsville traffic stop video results in federal suit," Nicholas J.C. Pistor, May 8, 2012