Michael Panella

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Orlando, FL

Panella Law Firm
 | 1238 East Concord Street, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: 407-337-3474
Fax: 866-298-7607
Selected To Rising Stars: 2019 - 2020
Licensed Since: 2014
Practice Areas:
  • Criminal Defense (70%),
  • Family Law (20%),
  • Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    Attorney Michael Panella is the founder and owner of the Panella Law Firm in Orlando, Florida. A top-rated, award-winning attorney with more than five years of legal experience, Mr. Panella provides outstanding representation to clients throughout central Florida who have legal needs involving any of the following:

    • Criminal defense
    • DUI and traffic defense
    • Criminal appeals
    • Expungements and record sealing
    • Family law and divorce

    Mr. Panella's passion for the law arose from a personal matter he experienced in his youth that greatly affected his family. From this experience, he has adhered to his mission for delivering the highest level of advocacy and support to those dealing with complex, pressing legal challenges in order to help them achieve the justice they expect and deserve. Before entering private practice, he served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida's 18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender's Office, where he handled hundreds of cases in Brevard and Seminole counties.

    In all matters, Mr. Panella is fully committed to achieving the best possible outcome for those he serves, and he has gained an unprecedented record of success at trial as well as appeals. Recognized for his impeccable professionalism and outstanding legal abilities, he has earned designation as a Top 40 Under 40 from the National Trial Lawyers in 2018 and 2019 along with numerous other accolades from his peers. He has also received Superb client ratings on AVVO along with many positive testimonials and referrals from his satisfied clients.

    A 2009 graduate of the University of Central Florida, Mr. Panella attended the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he obtained his Juris Doctor cum laude in 2013. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and he is an active member of The Florida Bar, the Orange and Broward County Bar Associations, as well as the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

    While in law school, Mr. Panella earned his certificate in criminal justice and served as Justice/President for the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International, Fletcher Chapter. He also received the Book Award for Criminal Law as well as for Child, Parent and the State. In addition, he earned the Community Service Certificate of Outstanding Achievement and the Pro Bono Certificate of Outstanding Achievement.

    Practice Areas
    • 70%Criminal Defense
    • 20%Family Law
    • 10%Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI
    Focus Areas

    Arrest & Arraignment, Assault & Battery, Criminal Fraud, Criminal Law, Drug & Alcohol Violations, Expungement, Failure to Pay Child Support, False Accusations, Felony, Juvenile Delinquency, Misdemeanor, Motor Vehicle Offenses, Murder, Probation, Sex Offenses, Theft, Traffic Violations, Criminal Domestic Violence, Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Law, Name Change, Paternity, Marital Property, Father's Rights, DUI/DWI


    top-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 2 years

    Rising Stars: 2019 - 2020

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    To: Michael Panella
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    About Michael Panella

    Admitted: 2014, Florida

    Professional Webpage: https://panellalawfirm.com/about-us/


    • Justice (President), Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International, Fletcher Chapter, University of Florida Levin College of Law
    • Client's Choice Award, Avvo, Consistent five-star client review rating on Avvo's platform, 2017 - 2019
    • Book Award, Child, Parent, and the State, University of Florida Levin College of Law
    • Book Award, Criminal Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law
    • Super Lawyers Rising Stars Award, 2019
    • Book Award, Award for highest grade in the class, University of Florida Levin College of Law, 2011 - 2012
    • Top 40 Under 40, National Trial Lawyers, Award given to only a select group of top Criminal Defense attorneys in the state of Florida. Recognized for results at trial and peer reviews, 2017 - 2018
    • Community Service Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, University of Florida Levin College of Law, 2013
    • Pro Bono Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, University of Florida Levin College of Law, 2013

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Criminal Justice Certificate. Awarded by UF Law for outstanding achievement in this practice area and focused coursework, 2013
    • Florida Bar Certified, 2014

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Member, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida
    • The National Trial Lawyers
    • Member, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Member, Broward County Bar Association
    • Member, Orange County Bar Association
    • Member, Florida Bar
    • Mentor for University of Central Florida Interns. We have accepted them into the firm and offered employment opportunities, 2016
    • Orange County Bar Association Mentor for current law students, 2018
    • Mentor for University of Central Florida Interns. We have accepted them into the firm and offered employment opportunities, 2018
    • Mentor for University of Central Florida Interns. We have accepted them into the firm and offered employment opportunities, 2017

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Handled two pro-bono criminal cases in the 9th Judicial Circuit for indigent defendants, 2018
    • Music Minister at United Church in Orlando Florida, 2006

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Presenter, A Comparative Survey of Self-Defense Laws Between Georgia and Florida, Legal Studies, Mercer University College of Law, Guest law school lecture on the comparison between Florida and Georgia's self-defense laws and "stand your ground" differences, 2013
    • Lecturer, Florida Justifiable Use of Force Laws 
    • Presenter, An Afternoon with Michael Panella - Law Student on the George Zimmerman Case, Legal Studies, Mercer University College of Law, Discussed trial strategy and evidence issues regarding the State v. George Zimmerman case, 2013


    • 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, 2019
    • Criminal driving charges dismissed in DeSoto County, Florida, 2019
    • Injunction (restraining order) dismissal in favor of Panella Law Firm client, 2018
    • 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, 2019
    • 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, 2019
    • 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, 2019


    • Dismissal of felony DUI charges on behalf of our client, 2018
    • Received favorable result at trial where my client was sued for non-payment for services on his vehicle. Not only did client not have to pay, but the court ordered that the service provider provide my client compensation. Seminole County case: 2016-SC-001667000XX, 2016
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Violation of Probation, Driving While License Suspended. Osceola County: 2016-CT-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. Palm Beach County: 2018-CF-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Domestic Violence - Battery. Orange County: 2017-MM-XXXXX-XX, 2017
    • Eviction case dismissed in favor of my client. Orange County Florida - 2016-CC-009728-O, 2016
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Possession of alcohol by a person under 21. Orange County: 2017-MM-XXXXX-XX, 2017
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon x2. Orange County: 2017-CF-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Driving While License Suspended. Palm Beach County: 2011-CT-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Leaving child unattended in a vehicle. Orange County: 2018-MM-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Initially felony Driving While License Suspended. Orange County: 2018-MM-XXXXX-XX, 2018
    • Criminal charges dismissed - Aggravated Battery. Orange County: 2018-CF-XXXXX-XX, 2018

    Representative Clients:

    • CDL driver received his full license reinstatement after a contested hearing regarding a baseless citation, 2018


    Educational Background:

    • University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, B.A., Major: Political Science: International Relations/Comparative Politics, Minor: Philosophy, Honors: Recipient of the Research and Mentoring Program fellowship, Recipient of the Research and Mentoring Program grant, Graduate at the Top of his Class
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    Office Location for Michael Panella

    1238 East Concord Street
    Orlando, FL 32803

    Phone: 407-337-3474

    Fax: 866-298-7607

    Michael Panella:

    Last Updated: 12/19/2019

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