When your life collides with the criminal justice system, how can you protect your freedom? You can start by reaching out to our top Orlando criminal defense lawyers who will fight for you.

If you’ve seen us on local or national news battling it out against tough opponents to defend clients, you know we won’t back down in helping you.

To understand what we can do for you, look at what we’ve done for others.

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Lawyer Mike Panella


Criminal defense lawyer Michael Panella’s strong commitment to fairness in the justice system was fueled at an early age by what he saw as an unjust legal outcome in a personal family matter. He brings this zealous advocacy to every defense case he handles, always working toward getting the best possible outcomes for clients. His dedication to protecting the rights of the accused was exemplified as a public defender who was undefeated at trial. He also focuses on criminal appeals and has worked toward stopping prison abuse.

A high achiever throughout his life, he graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law and at the top of his class from University of Central Florida.

Attorney Michael Panella has taken on hundreds of criminal cases in a wide variety of areas. He was also part of the team that successfully defended George Zimmerman in Florida’s highly publicized self-defense law case.

Whatever you are charged with, from driving under the influence to assault and battery to homicide, Attorney Michael Panella will put his foundation of knowledge to work for you. He is passionate about securing justice for accused people.

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Orlando Defense Lawyer Mike Panella

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In the news

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Stand Your Ground Lawyer
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Interview: Stand Your Ground

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Mary DeRossett Sentencing

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John DeRossett Freed Under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

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Man Accused of Attempted Murder of Brevard County Deputies

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Brevard County Sheriff Reacts to Appeals Court Ruling in DeRosset Case

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Brevard County Man Granted Immunity to 2015 Shootout with Deputies

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Stand Your Ground Defense in DeRossett Case

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Man Accused of Shooting at Deputies Wants Case Thrown Out Under ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Securing your best outcomes

Punishments in Florida criminal cases can be severe. The severity of your possible sentence is based upon the specific crime you are accused of committing. It also depends on whether you have prior arrests and convictions and how many you have.

When you are being prosecuted, our seasoned Orlando criminal defense lawyers will seek the most favorable outcome for you based on your situation. Call (407) 233-1822 to speak with an experienced defense attorney.

Sentences for Misdemeanor Crimes

Crimes in Florida are classified either as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are usually less serious than felonies, but can still involve jail time and hefty fines. Some examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, petty theft, battery, vandalism and domestic violence. Misdemeanors are divided into first- and second-degree categories:

  • First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The statute of limitations for prosecuting misdemeanors is one year for second-degree charges and two years for first-degree. The clock begins ticking on the date of the alleged crime. If the state doesn’t begin prosecuting your case within that time, you can typically have it dismissed. If you’re facing a misdemeanor offense, ask our criminal defense lawyers about your case. Our team can advise you of your legal options and your rights.

Sentences for Felony Crimes

Depending upon the crime and potential prior convictions, people found guilty of felonies might spend the rest of their lives behind bars. People convicted of capital crimes, such as first-degree murder, may face the death penalty.

Some examples of felonies include murder, kidnapping, burglary, auto theft and selling marijuana to a minor. Felonies are classified as capital, life, first-, second- and third-degree, which is the least serious.

People found guilty of first-degree felonies that are not a capital or life offense face up to 30 years in prison. For second-degree, it is up to 15 years and third-degree is up to five years. Fines for felony convictions can be as high as $15,000.

The time limit to begin prosecution for felonies is within three years for second- and third-degree felonies. It is four years for first-degree except in capital and life felonies. There is no statute of limitations for crimes in those classifications.


If you stood up for yourself after being unlawfully threatened and are now being prosecuted, you may be able to claim self-defense under Florida’s stand-your-ground law. This legal statute gives people the right to use force to protect themselves if they believe they are in imminent danger of being seriously hurt or killed by another person. This includes deadly force. As long as you weren’t engaged in criminal activity and were in a place where you had a right to be, stand-your-ground law may apply to your case. An Orlando criminal defense lawyer from our firm will examine the circumstances involved and fight for you in a self-defense claim. Call us today to learn how we can help you at (407) 233-1822.



    Look for an attorney with a background practicing criminal law in Florida, including handling cases like yours. When looking for an attorney, ask a lot of questions. A few important things to find out include how long they have practiced criminal defense law, how many cases they’ve tried or settled and how they would approach your case. It’s also a good idea to find out how easy the attorney is to get hold of. The last thing you need when facing potential jail time is to have an attorney who does not quickly address your concerns. At Panella Law Firm, our communicative attorney believes that when clients have questions they deserve answers fast.


    The cost of criminal defense lawyers varies. Typically, a highly experienced and successful defense attorney costs more than one just starting out. The nature of the charge will also impact the cost. It’s important to keep in mind that while you may pay more for experience up front, in the long run you may pay much less in potential jail time and fines because of the skill that an experienced attorney will bring to your case.


    There is no law saying that people can’t represent themselves, but it is never a good idea. Most people don’t have the needed knowledge of the law and the justice system to be successful in a legal case, which makes a negative life-changing outcome highly likely. Even people with legal knowledge should not represent themselves because they won’t be able to view their case objectively. An Orlando criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights.


Our clients always take center stage in our legal battles. What is personal to you, is personal to us. Sometimes this includes a difficult family law situation, securing a second chance at justice, or protecting your reputation. Whatever your legal situation or simply because you need results – Call Attorney Michael Panella.

Family Law Concerns

We know that legal problems within families are highly stressful. You can rely on our firm to work compassionately with you when you are experiencing a difficult divorce, a child custody issue or other complex dispute. No matter what the situation, you can count on our skilled family lawyers to stand up for your best interests.

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Criminal Appeals

Do you believe you were wrongfully convicted of a crime? A criminal defense lawyer in Orlando with extensive experience handling appeals may be able to have your conviction reviewed by a higher court. If successful, you could receive a new trial or your conviction could be reversed. Don’t wait to speak with a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you when you are unfairly convicted.

Expungments & Records Sealing

A criminal charge can follow you for the rest of your life. It can affect your reputation, your employment and even your family life. In some cases, you may be able to have your criminal record sealed or expunged to restrict who can see it. Our criminal defense lawyers in Orlando can advise you about sealing or expungement in your case.

Choosing Panella Law Firm & Your Consultation

As you know if you have been arrested, being accused of a crime is an extremely serious matter. You can increase your chances of the best outcome by working with a highly reputable Orlando attorney. Having a seasoned criminal defense lawyer fighting for you can make the difference in your case.

No matter what the crime you are accused of, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers will work in your best interests. As seasoned criminal defense lawyers, Panella Law Firm has secured positive resolutions for hundreds of people being prosecuted for a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony crimes.

Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in Orlando

When you are faced with criminal prosecution, you may feel frightened and confused. Having the right attorney on your side can ease your anxiety and stress. Our attorneys at Panella Law Firm not only have the experience that many clients have trusted to successfully handle their case, they are passionate about achieving justice for people accused of criminal wrongdoing. Don’t wait to hire an attorney following an arrest. Call us now so that we can begin building your defense: (407) 233-1822.

  • Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers deeply understand Florida’s justice system. We will stop at nothing to get you the best results possible.
  • An experienced defense attorney can make the difference between jail time and walking free. We have a long track record of success in delivering positive outcomes to clients.
  • Whether you are facing prosecution, appealing a conviction, or want to wipe your record clean, you can count on our well-rounded law firm to zealously advocate for you.