Orlando Misdemeanor Charge Lawyer

Panella Law Firm accepts cases throughout Florida

When you hear “misdemeanor,” you may think such a crime isn’t serious. If you’re convicted of one, it may be a life-changing moment. Plans for your future and those of your family may no longer be possible. The time you spend in court or jail may cost you your job. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor in Florida, you must protect your rights and freedom.

Should you get a misdemeanor lawyer in Florida? Panella Law Firm represents those facing, or being investigated for, misdemeanor charges. Trying to represent yourself and learning about criminal law and the court system at the same time may be a mistake you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

What are Florida Misdemeanors? What is the Punishment for a Misdemeanor in Florida?

Reducing a charge can mean fewer consequences for you and your family.

Misdemeanors are categorized by degrees. An Orlando misdemeanor charge lawyer may convince a prosecutor or judge that you should be charged with a less serious, second-degree crime, so the potential outcome is less severe.

First Degree

If convicted, you may face a jail term of up to a year with a fine of up to $1,000. These crimes include cyberstalking, vandalism, breaching a restraining or protection order, simple battery, driving and boating under the influence, reckless driving, and shoplifting.

Second Degree

The potential jail term is up to 60 days and your fine could be up to $500. Examples include petit theft (worth less than $100), disorderly intoxication, prostitution, assault, loitering, driving with a suspended license with knowledge, and trespassing.

In contrast, a Florida felony can be punished by more than a year in prison.

What Can Impact the Charge and Potential Sentence?

The misdemeanor degree is only one factor in your possible sentence.

Your case’s facts impact potential penalties. A misdemeanor lawyer’s job is to try to make those facts as favorable as possible.

The Florida legislature decided that some misdemeanor situations should face tougher penalties than others.

Multiple Convictions

You will face enhanced penalties if you plead guilty to a misdemeanor or were found guilty after a trial. The conviction of a second misdemeanor battery charge has the same penalty as a third-degree felony penalty. You’re considered a habitual offender if you’re convicted five or more times of a misdemeanor. You’d face at least six months in jail or residential treatment.


Depending on the victim and the alleged crime, you may be charged with a misdemeanor but face a possible third-degree felony penalty. These victims could be a child, someone who’s elderly, or a first responder (police officer, firefighter, or paramedic).

Bias Crimes

If you target someone due to their color, race, ethnicity, ancestry, sexual orientation, religion, sexual orientation, age (65 and older), homeless status, or advanced age (65 and older), your offense would be reclassified to the next higher level.

How Does Misdemeanor Sentencing Work in Florida? What Can a Misdemeanor Charges Attorney in Orlando Do About It?

In addition to fines, judges have broad discretion when sentencing those convicted of misdemeanors. They often consider:

  • The circumstances
  • Injuries or damages caused by the crime
  • Your history and the likelihood of rehabilitation
  • Whether you are genuinely remorseful for committing the crime
  • Whether you can pay restitution
  • Whether substance addiction or mental health issues impacted your decision to commit a crime.

What is the punishment for a misdemeanor in Florida? A judge can sentence you up to the maximum permitted by law. There can also be:

  • A split sentence, where you’re imprisoned part of the time and on probation the rest
  • Stayed (or delayed) execution of the sentence, so you’re put on probation, and if you complete it successfully, you’ll avoid jail time
  • A jail sentence spent at night, on weekends, or on another schedule so you can spend time working or caring for your family.

An essential part of our job is to show the judge that if you’re convicted, you should receive a sentence that poses as light a burden as possible.

Can I Avoid Going to Trial for a Misdemeanor? How Can a Misdemeanor Crime Lawyer Make This Happen?

If we find a reason to dismiss your case or reduce your charges, we’ll ask a judge to do so. There may be factual, legal, and constitutional problems with the prosecution’s case, and we’ll do all we can to bring your case to a quick end. If that’s not an option, there are ways to resolve your case or get it out of the traditional court setting,

Plea Bargain Agreement

Very few cases are decided after a full trial. Many are resolved through a plea bargain agreement. Both sides weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the case and negotiate an outcome acceptable to both sides. Neither wants to spend resources for an all-or-nothing decision at a trial. This usually involves pleading guilty to the same or reduced charge in exchange for an agreed-upon sentence, subject to the judge’s approval.

Pretrial Intervention

A pretrial intervention program may be available if you’re a first-time offender or have just one non-violent misdemeanor on your record. In exchange for following the program’s terms (education, counseling, drug treatment), the program administrator will recommend dismissal of your charges, your supervision should continue, or your case should be prosecuted.

Problem-Solving Courts

These are drug, mental health, and veterans’ courts. You may qualify if substance addiction, mental health challenges, or military service-related issues contributed to your criminal behavior. This may be part of probation or pretrial intervention.

Strict program rules must be followed to take advantage of this opportunity. If this is done pretrial, charges will be dismissed when you finish the program. If you don’t successfully finish the program, you may be imprisoned to complete your sentence, or your case may be sent back to the traditional court system.

Community Court

This is a non-adversarial way to address your offense. An advisory committee recommends sanctions and solutions to the presiding judge. They consider your needs and those of the crime victim.

A community court may address petty crimes committed by the homeless. Instead of fines that may never be paid and jail time, a community court helps you by ordering community-based punishments and services aimed at addressing the root cause of your offense.

A misdemeanor crime lawyer will try to convince the prosecution that the community is better served if you can avoid the traditional court system. These alternatives not only have less impact on you, but they’re also less costly for taxpayers and more likely to improve the chances you won’t be arrested again.

What Can a Misdemeanor Crime Lawyer from the Panella Law Firm Do for Me?

Panella Law Firm is a tough and aggressive criminal defense firm. We believe in justice and a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Attorney and founder Michael Panella is a top Orlando misdemeanor charges attorney in Orlando who is UNDEFEATED AT TRIAL. He has a strong commitment to fairness in the legal system.

What Our Clients Say

We have represented hundreds of clients who have collided with the criminal justice system, and we fight hard on their behalf. We are smart, skilled, and aggressive attorneys unafraid to go toe-to-toe with prosecutors.

Why Should I Choose the Panella Law Firm if I’m Facing a Misdemeanor Charge?

Our work is primarily criminal defense, though we also represent clients in family matters. As time passes and our number of cases increases, we develop more knowledge and skill. That focus enables us to work toward the best results possible in a case.

Panella Law Firm can’t promise that things will go your way, but we will promise to work hard on your behalf and ensure that you have every advantage possible in our legal system. We know how the prosecution works and will use the facts, court procedure, and the law to make their job as difficult as possible.

Criminal defense work isn’t what you see in movies and TV shows. It’s not all about trials. It’s mostly about putting in the hard work to prevent a trial. If you’re under investigation, we’ll work with the police to show they’re looking at the wrong person. Panella Law Firm may convince the prosecution to reduce or withdraw charges or successfully argue to a judge to dismiss charges.

We also negotiate favorable plea bargain agreements that allow our clients to move on with their lives with a resolution they can live with.

Should You Get a Lawyer for a Misdemeanor? If You Want the Best Chance of Success, Trust the Panella Law Firm to Defend You

Being arrested doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted or serve time in prison. The prosecution has the burden of proof. Criminal defense lawyer Michael Panella will ensure that the judge or jury knows they haven’t done their job.

How your case is resolved can affect you for the rest of your life. You may lose your job and income. You may be disqualified from getting some jobs, and it could be harder to rent a home. Your family relies on you, and you can’t support them if you’re in prison.

The earlier a misdemeanor lawyer in Florida gets involved in your case, the faster we will start investigating your arrest. Our defense strategy may result in dismissed charges or a plea bargain agreement that keeps you out of jail. Call the Panella Law Firm at 407-233-1822 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.

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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