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Criminal Defense Attorneys in Harrisburg

Protecting & Fighting for Clients throughout Dauphin County

Criminal charges have the potential to ruin your life, especially if they're not properly handled. When your rights are on the line, you need an attorney who understands your concerns and will effectively and aggressively fight for your legal rights.

Founded in 1951, Shaffer & Engle has built a long-standing reputation for success. We provide attentive, compassionate, and discerning legal representation to clients across central Pennsylvania who are facing state or federal charges, including those related to a wide variety of crimes.

Our Harrisburg criminal defense lawyers can defend you against all types of crimes, including:

  • Drug offenses — Drug possession, sale, and trafficking
  • Violent crimes — Weapons offenses, homicide, and assault
  • Financial crimes — Fraud, embezzlement, and identity theft
  • Drunk driving — DUI, repeat DUI, and breath and blood test refusal
  • Sex offenses — Rape, child pornography, sexual assault, and molestation

When it Comes to Criminal Charges, Experience Matters

Our criminal defense lawyers have helped thousands of people stand up for their rights and successfully navigate the challenges of the criminal justice system. We are fierce litigators who are not afraid to take a case to trial, and our successful track record in the courtroom benefits clients as we are often able to negotiate favorable plea agreements.

Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini is a well-respected trial attorney who has secured not guilty verdicts for her clients in federal racketeering (RICO), rape, drug trafficking, sexual assault, firearms, indecent assault, and DUI trials. Attorney Jeffrey Engle's appellate work on behalf of his client in Com. V. Neiman resulted in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declaring that Megan's Law III (Act 152) was unconstitutional.

We have successfully defended clients from all walks of life against all types of state and federal charges — including high-profile, high-stakes sex offense cases.

Is Your Professional License On the Line?

The consequences of criminal allegations can extend far beyond the justice system. Your professional license may also be in jeopardy.

We regularly defend licensed professionals who face disciplinary action and allegations of professional misconduct. As licensed attorneys, we realize how important it is for doctors, nurses, teachers, real estate agents, and other professionals to have an active license and remain in good standing with their governing body. License suspension affects not only your ability to work, but also your ability to provide for yourself and your family. We can help you pursue every available avenue for safeguarding your professional licensure and reputation.

The Advantages of Well-Rounded Experience

Our legal team also includes a former prosecutor. The firm's managing partner, Jeffrey B. Engle, previously served as a deputy district attorney for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. He gained a wide breadth of experience prosecuting criminal cases at trial and on appeal.

As a result of this background:

  • If you decide to pursue plea negotiation, he understands effective negotiating strategies.
  • He can advise you on the realistic options for resolving your case without a trial.
  • He knows what tactics the other side may use to persuade the judge and jury.
  • He can effectively anticipate — and counter — those tactics.
  • He understands how prosecutors approach criminal cases.
  • He can also stand up against the prosecution at trial.

Ultimately, you are the one who benefits from Mr. Engle's well-rounded experience on the other side of the courtroom.

Enlist Our Help to Safeguard Your Rights

Let us put this experience to work for you. Call (717) 268-4287 for a free initial consultation to learn more about why you should hire a former prosecutor and discuss the details of your case. Our office is conveniently located in Harrisburg, and we work with clients across central Pennsylvania.

Obtain Counsel ASAP

It is crucial that you obtain counsel before you go to any interview with the police. You may think, "But if I go with counsel, won't that look like I'm guilty?" No, actually, it will look to the police like you're smart and you won't be easily intimidated.

The police detective, interviewer, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, children and youth advocate, victim advocate, or district attorney may tell you things like, "We just want your side of what happened." Or, "We want to help you help yourself; if you just cooperate, we can help you." In reality, this is the furthest thing from the truth. The only people the government agents are attempting to help are themselves by having you fully or partially confess to a crime. If you confess or admit that you did something, it's much more difficult for a defense attorney to adequately defend you. The government agents know this and want to avoid entanglements with defense attorneys at all costs.

What You Can Do

It's best to meet with a lawyer ahead of time and discuss the case for possible strengths and weaknesses. We will need to assess whether we should even meet with the police. Many times, we will not recommend that you speak to any law enforcement. Sometimes, we may even have our own investigator look into the facts and evidence to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the commonwealth's case against you — before you are even charged.

The best result is that you are never charged. Or, we may have you undergo a private polygraph examination. These are useful when provided to government agents ahead of time to show that you've passed a polygraph and should not be charged.

The majority of people facing the criminal charges will be prosecuted in state courts. State police and prosecutors handle everything from DUI to homicide, and they will often pursue serious penalties and consequences in an effort to curb criminal activity.

Comprehensive State Crime Defense

We offer vigorous representation in all state crimes, including:

  • DUI
  • Assault
  • Forgery
  • Robbery
  • Homicide
  • Sex crimes
  • Juvenile crimes
  • Concert arrests
  • State drug crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Falsification of documents
  • Theft crimes, including retail theft

A Tailored Defense to Your Criminal Case

The actual charges and penalties someone faces for a state crime depend on a variety of factors including the type and extent of the crime, age of the alleged offender, and available evidence. Our Harrisburg criminal defense lawyers will help you understand exactly what to expect and will work with you to determine the best course of action based on the circumstances of your case. We offer creative defense strategies tailored to help minimize the negative consequences you face.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact Shaffer & Engle for a free consultation at (717) 268-4287. Our Harrisburg criminal defense lawyers can help you.

What Our
Clients Have to Say

  • He treated me with respect and always made me feel like my case was his only priority.

    “Because I live out of state, I needed representation that I could trust to best represent me and my interests. Jeff Engle provided regular, thorough counsel throughout the legal process. He treated me with respect and always made me feel like my case was his only priority.”

    KH

  • BEYOND AMAZING...

    “Elisabeth helped me through the most traumatic turning point in my life where I felt so alone and had no support except the fact that I needed to get through my disposition to ensure I would be able to continue to excel in my college studies and provide a better life for my young daughter who I am raising alone. Elisabeth provided me with encouraging words and any possible leads she had come across. I was amazed at how caring she was regarding matters outside of the actual case! After court, Thanks to Elisabeth, I was able to come home and continue to be a rock for my family. Since, I have recently ran out of funding 29 credits shy of my degree but still proud to finish the last semester with a 4.0 gpa making the Deans List five times still maintain work having also begun raising my orphaned seventeen year old god daughter who I came to know as one of the trouble kids at my local Boys & Girls Club where I was hired after completing the community service requirements in my case. I do not receive any financial help from government programs for my budding family but I begged for Elisabeth to take money for her exceptional service and she refused. I am forever grateful for her kindness and love each time that I look at my girls. She treated me like family and she didn't have to, she believed in me and encouraged me and stayed true to her word and I genuinely love and appreciate her for that beyond words. I trusted her with a long shot and she hit it out of the parking lot! Like my title says BEYOND AMAZING...”

    Jaimeen A.

  • Jeff is very up front about his experience, results and belief in the success or possible issues with your case.

    “From the minute you call Jeff Engle's office, you are treated with first class respect and service. Jeff is very up front about his experience, results and belief in the success or possible issues with your case. From the time of retainment, Jeff's use of electronic forms of communication keep you up to date to the minute whenever there are developments and progress in your case. This type of communication is nearly unheard of in ANY proffession. Many times, I knew that Jeff was taking his personal time to communicate with me. Jeff presents himself as a very knowledgeable and able attorney with sincere personal interest in the success of your case. During times of uncertainty, having someone of Jeff's demeanor at your side will simply make you feel that no matter what the outcome may be, he is right there with you. There was not one time during the course of my case that I felt Jeff was not thoughful and prepared for. I cannot say enough for the level of professionalism this man presents while representing you as a client.”

    Kevin

  • Ms. Collins took our case, she made us feel like we were her only client.

    “From the first day Ms. Collins took our case, she made us feel like we were her only client. She keeps us in the loop at all times, has put such heart and dedication into the case, and really wants the best outcome. She is positive and makes an effort to keep our spirits up with humor and a different perspective. I know for a fact she puts a lot of her personal time into her work because she wants to do the best job possible, including weekends and holidays.”

    Janay

  • I wanted to thank you for the Support & Defense you provided me with on my last minute court case, you didn't have to defend me and told me to take a hike, buy you have a heart and that means a lot to some people.

    “I wanted to thank you for the Support & Defense you provided me with on my last minute court case, you didn't have to defend me and told me to take a hike, buy you have a heart and that means a lot to some people.”

    Tony