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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

  • They handled everything beautifully and were able to minimize our anxiety throughout a difficult process.

    “Jeff is the fourth attorney that I have worked with regarding custody of my son. My previous attorneys were neither knowledgeable of the law as it applied to my case nor followed through on the actions they said they would take. Not only did Jeff know what he was doing, but he did everything that he said he would in a timely fashion. Given that my case involved an international relocation, allocation of sole custody for residency purposes abroad, and a non-custodial parent who was anything but cooperative, there was a high likelihood that my case would be unsuccessful with even the potential of being ordered to return to the US to maintain physical custody of my son. Today my child and I are happily living abroad and I was able to obtain the residency permit for my son to remain here. I attribute the success of my case to Jeff and his firm. They handled everything beautifully and were able to minimize our anxiety throughout a difficult process. Thank you!”

    Former Client

  • Jeff advised me appropriately and always responded to my calls promptly.

    “At the law offices of Shaffer & Engle, my case was handled with professionalism, compassion, and dedication. Facing criminal charges was a very frightening experience to me, but I knew I was in good hands with Jeff Engle. I had no past experiences with the judicial system. I felt I was treated with courtesy and dignity. Jeff did everything within his legal powers to provide a great service when I was in need. From my experience with Jeff, he has been more than a lawyer; he is now considered a great new friend of my family. He took a personal interest in my case and for that I am eternally grateful. Jeff always delivered on what he said to me and did everything he set out to do. Jeff fought the prosecutor (DA) every step of the way without hesitation. Jeff advised me appropriately and always responded to my calls promptly. What could have been a truly awful situation was resolved completely to my satisfaction. I am available at any time to address any questions with respect to Jeff Engle as an attorney or as a person. I hold him in the highest regard. If anyone ever wanted to see the definition of what a true attorney is...they should be able to open up a dictionary and see a picture of Jeff next to it. I would and will recommend him and his law firm to anyone looking for a knowledgeable and aggressive law firm or criminal defense attorney.”

    Tara K

  • You really did make a "federal case" of my situation!

    “Elisabeth, You are the best! I can't express how upset I was when I discovered that my builder committed fraud and lied to me about the quality and condition of my new house. It was a huge investment for me and he put me in a bad financial situation. I was cautiously hopeful when you told me you could help. When you got me a judgment for $130,000 plus- three times the amount of my damages- I was amazed! Thanks so much for all of your hard work and dedication. You really did make a "federal case" of my situation! With the money you won for me, I can finally enjoy my home. P.P.”

    P.P.

  • He has a great personality and makes you feel welcome and comfortable.

    “Mr. Engle took our case and worked diligently from the time we hired his firm until our case was resolved. In addition he kept us well informed throughout the process with emails, letters, and phone conversations. I have worked with a number of law firms in the past 10 plus years and Attorney Engle is one of the best. He does not make you feel as if you are a burden to him when you ask questions. He has a great personality and makes you feel welcome and comfortable. He makes no promises due to the fact he is not a fortune teller but he will do everything possible to have a positive outcome for your case. I recommend Attorney Engle and his Law Firm and hold nothing but positive praise for him and his team.”

    Paul W.

  • We are not seen as clients but instead as one of her family member. And for that, I admire and adore her work ethic and ability to help the community.

    “ I would definitely recommend her to anyone who needs her help. Her determination is outstanding.”

    Mai