Orlando Direct Appeals Lawyer

Panella Law Firm Accepts Cases Throughout Florida

The criminal justice system is not perfect. It has a built-in appeals component, proving that judges sometimes make errors at the trial court level. If you feel errors have been committed in your case, an Orlando direct appeals lawyer can potentially help you appeal unjust rulings and get the justice you deserve.

Call the Panella Law Firm at 407-602-6559 today.

Why Choose The Panella Law Firm?
Experience That Counts

Our experience in all criminal defense cases gives us an edge against the state in appeals cases. We work vigorously to identify and attack the erroneous rulings and instances of misconduct that lead to unfair trials. Firm founder and leader Attorney Michael Panella’s focus and dedication to his clients are responsible for his perfect record at trial.

Choosing the Panella Law Firm means choosing a firm with:

  • Years of experience vigorously defending hundreds of clients
  • Attorneys with a passion for defending against the state
  • A founder who is undefeated at trial and knows how direct appeals work.

At the Panella Law Firm, our meticulous attention to detail and comprehensive understanding of the criminal appeals process in Florida make us one of the top choices of law firms that handle direct appeals.

If you or someone you know is interested in appealing a criminal conviction, call the Panella Law Firm to speak with an Orlando direct appeals lawyer and learn about your next steps.

What Is A Direct Appeal?

Have you been asking yourself, “What is a direct appeal?” You should know that if you are convicted of a crime, you have the right to appeal the conviction and other rulings in the case. This appeal is one of a few forms of relief available to convicted individuals in the state.

How Do Direct Appeals Work?

It is important to note that the appeals process does not involve the introduction of any new evidence. It is a review of evidence and testimony that have already been presented and ruled upon. Cases involving new evidence are handled differently, during a separate process.

Additionally, an appeal is not a new trial. Appeals take place before judges. No juries are involved. Your attorney for a direct criminal appeal will present arguments as to why certain actions or rulings were erroneous and ask for a particular type of relief. On the other side of the table is the state’s attorney, who will be defending the ruling at issue.


Various forms of relief are available in criminal appeals, with the most sweeping being a complete vacating of the defendant’s conviction and sentence. Other forms of relief include:

  • A new trial
  • Resentencing order
  • Order for the trial court to take corrective action.

As you can see, winning an appeal does not necessarily mean your case is over. What happens after you win depends on what you were seeking from the court.

Appealing Felonies Vs. Misdemeanors

You can appeal both felony and misdemeanor convictions. However, the appeals are handled by different courts. Your local circuit court hears misdemeanor appeals, and felony appeals go before a district court of appeals.

Direct Appeal Vs. Post-conviction Relief

It is common to confuse direct appeal with post-conviction relief, but they are two entirely separate processes. In contrast to appeal petitions, post-conviction relief petitions are presented directly to the trial court that tried the case.

In post-conviction relief, defendants may present new evidence and considerations that are likely to have a bearing on the judgment. Although a defendant may seek post-conviction relief at any time after their conviction, post-conviction relief is typically sought after a defendant has exhausted their appeals.

Typical issues that are raised in post-conviction relief hearings include:

  • New exculpatory evidence, such as DNA or other compelling evidence
  • Allegations of perjury
  • Juror misconduct
  • Misconduct on the part of the prosecutors
  • Jurisdictional challenges
  • Unreasonably or unlawfully harsh sentences
  • Allegations of plea coercion
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel.

Some of the most common forms of post-conviction relief include release from custody, a new trial, and sentence modification.

Common Grounds For Appeal

There is no such thing as a perfect trial; mistakes happen. However, not all mistakes are such that they can form the basis of an appeal. Additionally, appeals are not available for pre-trial orders, which are rulings made before the trial has started.

Sentencing Issues

Not all appeals seek to overturn a conviction. Some are focused specifically on sentencing that is too harsh. A criminal appellate attorney handling this issue will typically argue that the judge exceeded statutory guidelines when handing down a sentence, which can happen in inflammatory and community-shocking cases.

Jury Errors

Various jury errors may occur during a trial. Since juries are one of the pillars of the criminal justice system, material mistakes in a trial can be grounds for various forms of relief.

One common jury issue that is raised during appeal relates to the sufficiency of jury instructions. Judges instruct juries on a variety of legal issues, most particularly just before deliberations. Erroneous instructions can and do lead to unjust results.

Sufficiency Of Evidence Issues

Juries must have enough evidence to convict. But sometimes the evidence simply is not enough that a reasonable jury could find a defendant guilty. If the court finds the evidence to be lacking, the conviction will be vacated.

Will I Be Released From Custody While My Appeal Takes Place?

It depends. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you will likely be allowed to remain out of jail while your case proceeds. However, felony defendants seeking to be released must demonstrate that their appeal has been filed in good faith and not on frivolous grounds with the help of a competent felony lawyer. Additionally, certain disqualifiers prevent a defendant from being released during an appeal. They are:

  • Previous felony conviction and no restoration of rights
  • Pending felony charges established by probable cause.

A defendant will also be denied release if the conviction being appealed is for one of a number of serious crimes, including:

  • Drug dealing and trafficking
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Second-degree murder
  • Any felony in the first degree
  • Any capital offense.

Additionally, no release will be available if the conviction requires the defendant to register as a sex offender and:

  • The defendant was 18 years old or older; and
  • The victim in question was a minor.

If the any of the above listed restrictions does not bind the defendant, the judge will consider a few factors when deciding to release or hold the defendant. These factors include:

  • Factors that may cause a defendant to be a flight risk
  • The level of community involvement the defendant has
  • The length of the prison time the defendant is facing.

Also pertinent during the decision-making process is the defendant’s demonstrated history of respect or disrespect for the law.

Denied Appeals

If your appeal is denied, the case is not yet over. Generally speaking, there are three options available to you when this occurs. One is post-conviction relief, which has already been discussed. The second is known as “collateral attack” and involves taking your appeal to the federal court system.

Finally, you can choose to remain within the Florida court system and appeal to a higher court than the court that handled your initial appeal. If your case was a felony case, then a district court would have heard your appeal. If they deny your appeal, you would then appeal to the next highest court, which is the Supreme Court, the highest court in the state.

How A Criminal Appellate Attorney From The Panella Law Firm Can Help

The appeals process in Florida is a complex and high-stakes undertaking that can lead to a reversal of the judgment of your case. However, it can also lead to an affirmation of an unfavorable decision. Hence, it is important to have a criminal appellate attorney
who has experience representing many clients in criminal appeals.

Panella Law Firm has a history of successfully identifying and arguing against errors that have resulted in unjust rulings for its clients. When an Orlando direct appeals lawyer from our team takes your case, they handle everything, including:

  • Reviewing trial transcripts for material errors and violations
  • Reviewing the evidence
  • Reviewing pretrial motions for errors
  • Preparing and executing oral arguments
  • Keeping you in the loop on the progress of your appeal.

You get the peace of mind that your case is in capable hands and that all is being done that can be.

If you would like to speak with a criminal appellate attorney about your case, call the Panella Law Firm at 407-602-6559 and learn how you can potentially get relief from an erroneous court ruling.

Frequently Asked Questions

At the Panella Law Firm, we are ready to answer any questions you have about how direct appeals work. Please review the questions and answers that follow for valuable information.

How long will my criminal appeal take?

It depends on the case. With that being said, criminal appeals are not speedy processes. The initial request for paperwork can take the clerk months to fulfill. Generally speaking, defendants seeking relief from an appeal can expect to wait between one and two years for an answer.

What is a direct appeal attorney’s fee?

It depends on the amount of work involved in handling your case. Generally speaking, the more complex and extended your appeal is, the higher your attorney’s fees will be. To get a better idea of how much your appeal might cost, contact an attorney for a direct criminal appeal from our firm for a free consultation and case review.

Can I appeal if I pleaded guilty to a charge?

Generally, you are not permitted to appeal a conviction if you voluntarily enter a guilty plea. However, you file a motion to withdraw your plea.

What is the time limit for filing a criminal appeal?

In most cases, you have 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal.

If you have more questions about how direct appeals work, please call our office to speak with an attorney for a direct criminal appeal.

Choose The Panella Law Firm To Represent You

Our Appeals Attorneys Are Ready To Fight For You

If you have been convicted of a crime, you can seek relief. The attorneys at the Panella Law Firm have spent years representing clients against the state and can potentially help you receive a favorable ruling.

Contact our office to speak with an Orlando direct appeals attorney today and find out what can be done in your case. Call 407-602-6559 today.

Attorney Mike Panella

For Mike Panella, the concept of zealous advocacy developed at an early age – fueled by what he perceived to be an unjust resolution in a personal family legal matter. Mr. Panella would later attribute his passion to defend the rights of those who stand accused to those inequities in the legal system he observed, and considered unjust. Before opening Panella Law Firm, Mr. Panella served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and worked hundreds of cases in both Brevard and Seminole Counties. Mr. Panella was undefeated at trial. [ Attorney Bio ]

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