Orlando DUI Lawyers

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Panella Law Firm accepts cases throughout Florida

Safeguarding Your Rights When You Are Charged with Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common causes of arrest in Florida. This very serious charge is unique because many people arrested for this crime are first-time offenders who did not recognize that their actions constituted a criminal offense.

In Florida, you can receive a DUI even if you are not driving the vehicle, a charge called “actual physical control.” An officer can arrest you if your normal faculties are impaired, even if you’re sitting in a car in your own driveway. And if you are found to have a .08 or higher blood alcohol concentration while driving, you can face tough penalties.

DUI law in Florida is enhanceable, which means that the charge and penalties can become progressively more severe based upon the circumstances, such as if your blood alcohol level is excessively high or if you had minors in the car with you. If you have had a DUI in the past or someone is injured or killed because of your charge, you may face felony DUI charges. A felony DUI can severely impact the rest of your life.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, do not wait to get the guidance of a skilled Orlando DUI lawyer. There are many defenses to this charge, and your attorney may be able to have your charge reduced or even dropped.

Call Panella Law Firm at 407-233-1822 to discuss your case with an experienced Orlando DUI defense lawyer who has helped many clients arrested for DUI achieve positive outcomes.

Why Choose Us?

Our Team Of Orlando DUI Defense Lawyers Will Stand Up for Your Fair Treatment

At Panella Law Firm, we believe every defendant is innocent until proven guilty and deserves fair treatment in the justice system. We are committed to protecting the legal rights of every client charged with DUI.

Attorney Michael Panella founded the firm to bring his expertise and zealous advocacy to the residents of Orlando and Central Florida. As a former Assistant Public Defender with the 18th Judicial Circuit, he successfully defended hundreds of criminal cases in Brevard and Seminole Counties. He was also a partner in a criminal appellate firm and has lectured at law schools to educate future lawyers in criminal matters.

Attorney Huda Saleh focuses on criminal law, including DUI and traffic cases. She is tireless in pursuing beneficial results for people who have been arrested, offering expert traffic ticket defense
to ensure the best outcomes for her clients. As you can see by the firm’s results and the testimonials of previous clients, our team is not afraid of taking on prosecutors in the courtroom to get clients the justice they deserve. We know the law and we will build a strong defense as we work to protect your freedom.


“I hired Mr. Panella … for a DUI case of a family member that was in the Country and then had to leave. Even though Mr. Panella’s client wasn’t present, he did not abandon the case. He stayed on top of it the entire time, communicating with me and doing everything in his power to finish the case and do the best for his client. He called me after hours and even on the weekend, no matter what day or time he was doing his job. He was always friendly and willing to do whatever it took to help us. I can honestly say that he went way beyond his duty as a Lawyer to finish the case in a way that was satisfying to my family. I Highly recommend him!!!!”  – Ivoneth Gibbs (Google Review)

How Panella Law Firm Can Help You

Being arrested for DUI can leave you confused, angry, and afraid. You may wonder what will happen after you are taken to jail, fingerprinted, and left to wait for your first appearance. You may wonder if you will lose your driver’s license or even your job. Panella Law Firm is here for you to lessen your fear and confusion.

There are defenses to DUI that can reduce or reverse your charges. We understand the intricacies of the law and how to advocate on your behalf with prosecutors to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

We will help you by:

  • Investigating your case and evaluating the circumstances of your arrest
  • Reviewing police reports and jail intake reports for any improper conditions in your detention and arrest or violation of your rights
  • Filing all documents on your behalf promptly, so they are properly filled out and no dates are missed
  • Creating DUI defense strategies and preparing you for court hearings and appearances, so you know what to expect from the judge and prosecutor
  • Gathering evidence for trial if necessary.

One of your primary rights following an arrest is the right to counsel. You should ask for a DUI lawyer in Orlando immediately, even if you believe you have done nothing wrong. Asking for representation is not an admission of guilt.

When you work with us, we will defend your rights regardless of your charges. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you navigate the legal process and get through this difficult time.

What is Driving Under the Influence in Florida?

Florida law defines driving under the influence as:

  • Driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle and,
  • Having a blood or breath alcohol level greater than .08 grams of alcohol per measurement sample or,
  • Being under the age of 21 and having any detectable blood alcohol level under Florida’s zero-tolerance policy.

According to the State of Florida, the offense is demonstrated by “impairment of normal faculties,” so when an officer sees you driving erratically, that is sufficient probable cause for stopping you and administering a field sobriety test.

Florida has no separate law for drugged driving. If a police officer believes you are under the influence of drugs, they may request you submit to a blood or urine test (breathalyzer tests will not show the presence of drugs), and you may be charged for being under the influence. In such situations, it’s important to consider consulting with a drug case lawyer to understand your rights and options. You can refuse to take the test, but refusal can lead to a separate misdemeanor charge.

DUI Lawyer Explains the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

Whether you have been drinking or using another drug and are caught driving, the penalties are the same:

  • First offense: Fine between $500 and $1,000 and up to six months in jail
  • Second offense: Fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to 9 months in jail, plus placement of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year
  • Third offense: Felony charges with a fine between $2,000 and $4,000, a minimum of one year in prison, up to 10 years’ probation, and placement of an ignition interlock device.

After the third offense, the chances of prison time and permanent license suspension increase.

In addition to possible jail time, fines, and license suspension, your vehicle may be impounded for as long as 10 days for a first conviction; you may be required to attend substance abuse classes and have other unpleasant sanctions taken against you.

If you are required to have an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle, you are responsible for paying for the installation—and you must have one installed on your primary vehicle and any other cars you typically use.

If your DUI caused property damage, injury, or death, you can expect charges and penalties to be much more severe. For example, a vehicular homicide charge has a minimum four-year prison term for a first offense.

For these reasons, you should never face a DUI charge alone. An experienced DUI lawyer in Orlando can provide you with every advantage in getting the most positive resolution to your case. It is crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands the complexities of DUI cases and can effectively defend your rights and interests.

Guilty of Driving Under the Influence?

Our DUI Attorney May Be Able to Lessen the Impact of Your Charges

When you know you are guilty of driving under the influence, you may think there’s nothing an attorney can do for you. Maybe you feel bad about driving drunk, or you had an accident, and you figure you just have to take your medicine.

At Panella Law Firm, our Orlando DUI lawyers never say never. There are many ways we may be able to defend your case and help mitigate the consequences, even if you were seriously intoxicated when you were arrested. Here are some things that can be done that may help lighten the impact of a serious DUI charge:

  • You can voluntarily enroll in a substance abuse program or rehab. The judge will probably order a substance abuse program anyway, so having one in place before your arraignment shows you are taking this seriously.
  • We will gather testimonials and family statements. Not all judges accept these, but we will obtain statements from family, friends, employers, and others who know you to show that this was a one-time incident and that you have no previous record of this behavior.
  • We will show the judge your prior history. We will pull your records to show the court that you are not a hardened criminal with a past history of DUIs and criminal behavior.
  • Our attorneys will review the police report and jail record. If the police did not have probable cause for the arrest or there were any irregularities in the field sobriety test or breathalyzer test, these circumstances can help our attorneys push for a better plea bargain.
  • We will prepare you for your court appearance. Hearing preparation will ensure you show a proper attitude in court. Being respectful to the judge is more important than many people realize and can have a positive influence on your case.

Even if you were drinking and driving and are not fighting that charge, our DUI attorneys in Orlando will do our best to ensure you get fair treatment by the court. We never give up on our clients, no matter what the circumstances.

Call an Experienced Orlando DUI Attorney for Help

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or other driving-related offense in Central Florida, our Orlando DUI attorneys will put our legal knowledge and experience to work for you. Our law firm is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and advise you and your family during this frightening and confusing time. The attorneys at Panella Law Firm are zealous advocates for our clients who will aggressively stand up for you in the justice system.

Call us at 407-233-1822 or fill out our online form and we’ll be in touch with you right away. You’re not alone, and we’re here to help you no matter what your offense.

FAQs about DUI

DUI Attorney in Orlando Answers FAQs

Our clients often have questions about their DUI arrest before they talk with us. You may have some of the same questions before your consultation.

I was sitting in my driveway. Can I be charged with DUI?

In Florida, the statute says you are guilty of driving under the influence if you are in “actual physical control” of a vehicle. The courts have decided this can mean if you’re sitting in your driveway or even standing near your car with your keys in your hand. The bottom line is whether the arresting officer thinks you were going to drive.

What is probable cause for a police officer to make a DUI arrest?

Probable cause means that the officer has articulable facts coupled with a reasonable belief that you have consumed alcohol or drugs and are too impaired to drive. That means the officer cannot just think you might have had a few drinks. You must also display physical signs of impairment, such as:

  • Weaving across lanes
  • Sudden braking or accelerating for no reason
  • Swerving into oncoming lanes
  • Running traffic signals
  • Slurred speech or impaired speech patterns
  • Odor of alcohol or marijuana
  • Loss of physical dexterity (stumbling, falling, dropping objects).

None of these things proves you are intoxicated. Only a blood test can definitively prove you have been drinking or using drugs. These things only establish that there are sufficient grounds for a blood or breath test.

They didn’t read me my rights. I’m free, right?

Wrong. This is the biggest myth in the legal world, thanks to countless television shows and movies. Reading your rights is properly known as “Mirandizing.” It only needs to be done when a police officer questions you about the crime after you’ve been taken into custody. Even if they fail to Mirandize you, it doesn’t mean you’re free; it only means some of your statements can’t be used in court.

What do I say when I am arrested?

There are some things you must say when you’re taken into custody.

  • You are required to tell law enforcement officers your name when asked.
  • If you want to remain silent, you must affirmatively state, “I do not want to talk.” The Supreme Court has held that suspects must invoke their right to remain silent verbally.
  • If you want an attorney, you must say, “I want to talk to an attorney.” The police are not obligated to let you call your attorney right away or to provide one until your arraignment, but they cannot talk to you after you have requested one.

Once you have invoked your right to remain silent, you cannot talk to the police about anything else without losing your right. It’s best to request a DUI lawyer immediately and then say nothing else until your arraignment.

These are general answers. Contact us directly by calling 407-233-1822 for answers for your specific situation.

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 ]

Contact Attorney Michael Panella

Need a criminal defense service? Turn to Panella Law Firm and contact us today with your question.

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