At Panella Law Firm we have handled a variety of criminal cases for those facing life sentences to underage drinking charges. We give each case our full attention to prevent our clients from suffering lifelong consequences, sometimes due to the mistakes of others and unnecessary prosecution. We work tirelessly so our clients receive the best possible outcome and we are ready to hear the details of your case.
We are an experienced criminal defense law firm and family law practice, and the results we have gained from clients are the best examples. Continue scrolling the page to view past results. If you or someone you care about needs help call Panella Law Firm now.
It’s done. My client was vilified and called names by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), by its Sheriff, and by the media. He has been falsely accused and has had nearly 5 years of his life taken from him. John DeRossett, a 70 year old retired GM mechanic was charged with three counts of attempted first degree premeditated murder of a law enforcement officer (facing 3 life sentences) in 2015. He was and is innocent of what he was accused. That fateful night, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office conducted a botched sting, late, in plain clothes, without a warrant, in unmarked cars to conduct a misdemeanor arrest of John’s niece at his home. When she was forcefully removed from her living room by a plain clothed man and drug into the dark front yard she screamed for her life and struggled to get away. John came out of his bedroom, saw the horrifying scene unfolding in his front yard, and fired a warning shot in the air. Tragically, all three men unloaded on John. He was shot twice, the niece was shot, and one of the men was also shot and seriously injured (sadly, this man had nothing to do with setting up the operation). It turns out they were undercover law enforcement officers who simply made a bad decision (against BCSO policy) about how to conduct a sting. It was clear John had no idea they were cops but was charged in a politically motivated prosecution with extraordinarily serious crimes.
After a battle of more than four years, an immunity (Stand Your Ground) hearing, and a lengthy appellate process, the truth has prevailed and the appellate court has dismissed the charges against John forever. In fact, he is immune from prosecution meaning he never should have been arrested in the first place. Yes, indeed, this is better than “not guilty;” John is actually innocent of that which he was accused.
On a personal note, four years ago I (Mike) had to quit my job to open Panella Law Firm to take this case. We have been met with opposition at every turn, including from the trial court and the elected Sheriff himself, but it is finally over. I am very happy for John and hope he can rebuild his life after this long and difficult journey. I also wish nothing but the best for the upstanding deputy who was injured in this unfortunate scenario. It is truly a miracle everyone is alive. Thank God.
This was a team effort and I am thankful to everyone who contributed to this outstanding result to save a falsely accused man’s life.
For the courts opinion on this case please view the below pdfs:
My client was arrested on the felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Except, she didn’t actually leave the scene. She pulled over and was berated by the “victim” to the point of fear (who herself left the scene to feign injuries at the nearest clinic). Unfortunately a warrant was issued, and my client voluntarily turned herself in. She spent the better part of a day in jail and was forced to spend money on an extraordinarily high bond.
Luckily, due to our workup and the reasonableness of the assigned prosecutor, we got this thing reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and ultimately a civil citation without an adjudication of guilt. Bottom line, my girl went from facing a potential 5 years in prison to a $214.00 fine and no points on her license. Criminal charges dismissed.
“Never judge a book by its cover.” My client was arrested on four aggressively serious charges: Felony Armed Possession of Cannabis, Felony Possession of Cannabis, Felony Grand Theft, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was facing a maximum of 26 years in prison.
He is also 20 years old, currently serving our country honorably in the Army, has a spotless record, and was home on leave when the alleged events took place.
While home on leave our guy agreed to drop his high school friend off to (in his mind) run an errand to purchase an item off marketplace. Things went horribly wrong when the friend actually had ill-intentions and ripped the seller off. When the “friend” got back in the car others in the neighborhood who witnessed what the friend did took out guns and began shooting into our client’s vehicle. Our guy ran for his life. The friend did too, never to be heard from again.
When the police responded to the scene, our client voluntarily presented himself to them and told the truth of what took place. Because no one else was present to take the fall, our soldier was arrested on these charges because the friend left what turned out to be contraband behind in a backpack our client never had access to. After two months, extensive workup, and finally a presentation to the prosecutor, the State decided not to file any formal charges on my client. The case is dismissed outright. Just when it appeared his career in the Military was over, he now has a bright future. God was truly looking out for our guy today. Kudos to the ethical prosecutor who took the time to listen.
My client was charged with the very serious crime of Sale and Delivery of Cocaine. In Florida, no matter how small the amount or form of “cocaine” or other relatively scheduled substance, this accusation is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. After 8 months of pouring through videos, filing motions, setting the case for trial, and working with the State, it was determined that the case against my client could not be proved. He was not arrested at the scene, nor depicted in any videos regarding the incident. I give serious kudos to an ethical Assistant State Attorney who recognized how important her role was. The charges against this guy with a bright full life ahead of him have been dropped.
This one is frustrating. My client was charged with a misdemeanor in April of 2017. She had never been in trouble before and qualified for a 6 month diversion program (upon successful completion the charge gets dismissed). It took until August for the court to sign off on it. She did everything they asked her to do: constant drug testing, many community service hours, reporting to her diversion officer, paid over $1,000.00 in fees, and even attended classes. After she completed everything, she couldn’t afford the $30.00 for an unexpected (4th) drug test that was announced the day she reported for completion of the program. She told her officer that she would try to get the money to do it, and in fact did complete the test the following day (with good results), but was kicked out of the program anyway.
The case was reset for trial as if she hadn’t completed anything. She retained us. She took an immediate drug test – results were perfect. It took us almost a year, and several trips out to Pasco County, but we were determined to get this charge dismissed. There was even a time during the process when she said she would rather just accept the charge than have to come back to court yet again, all because of the sluggishness of the court system and the fact she felt like the system couldn’t hear her. We fought with the State and the “machine” for the better part of a year and are happy to report the case is finally dismissed.
We’ve been hoping for this one. My client was involved in a traumatic incident that led to another man being shot and killed. My client immediately went to the police and reported what happened. He was not charged with anything. A year and a half later he found himself served with paperwork charging him with two felonies for “tampering with physical evidence” regarding that horrible incident (even though not only did he not “tamper” with evidence, he gave the police all the information they needed to investigate the matter). Through long hours of pouring over the State’s evidence, several court dates, and conversations with the prosecutors, the charges against him are now completely dismissed. No felony, no misdemeanor, no jail, no probation, no case.
My client found himself served with an injunction (restraining order) from his former wife a month before Christmas. This meant he was restricted from doing many things, but perhaps most importantly, he couldn’t attend his daughter’s Christmas program at school. The allegations were baseless, and ahead of the Christmas program we were able to amend the injunction to allow dad to attend. As a late Christmas present, the injunction was voluntarily dismissed through negotiation with opposing counsel. No more injunction, no more restraining order. Thank goodness. Just in time for the new year.
This 19 year old girl with no history was tailgating with her friends at an on campus UCF football game (Go Knights!). She was charged with a criminal offense for taking one sip of a beer (it is still unclear whether she actually drank or not). The police even made her pose for a picture holding a can of beer to solidify their case. She complied with all demands. After case workup and presentation to the prosecutor, as well as completion of community service hours, the case against her is now dismissed, she maintains no criminal history on her record, and she can continue with her studies without issue.