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Criminal Appeals in Harrisburg

Providing Strong Representation Since 1951

After a criminal or traffic conviction, there is still the appellate process that may be utilized to rectify your situation. There are different types of appeals for different types of cases. For instance, a direct appeal may be done in cases where one is convicted of a state or federal offense. A direct appeal involves appealing your conviction to the next highest court, often called an appellate court. In Pennsylvania, that may be the Superior Court or the Supreme Court. A collateral appeal involves the raising of a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition in the trial court and raising any issues on further appeal to the next highest court.

Summary non-traffic or traffic convictions from a magisterial district court may likewise be appealed by what's known as a "summary appeal" to the court of common pleas. There, your case will be heard de novo. Meaning, it's heard as though there was no prior outcome and all the evidence is heard once again from the beginning.

Jeffrey B. Engle has made arguments at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court level. You can trust our criminal appeals lawyers in Harrisburg to provide you with the strong representation you deserve.

Appealing Trial Court Decisions

Whether you are taking a direct, collateral, or summary appeal, there may be many grounds for seeking review of a conviction on appeal. However, one issue remains constant in all types of appeals. You are looking for a different outcome than what transpired in the previous court.

It's also important to realize that there are time frames for all appeals. In most situations, you will have a maximum of 30 days to file an appeal to the next court. Even if you don't file your appeal on time, there are possibilities that may be available, such as an appeal nunc pro tunc (now for then). Once you've been convicted, you should not delay in seeking an appellate attorney.

When it Comes to Appeals, Experience Matters

At Shaffer & Engle, we have dealt with a multitude of appeals to the various courts of common pleas (trial court), the Superior Court, the Supreme Court, and the Commonwealth Court. Attorney Engle has handled over 100 appeals. He has argued before every appellate court in Pennsylvania at least twice.

Most recently, Mr. Engle argued the constitutionality of Megan's Law III before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It is rare to have a case heard before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because the Court will only grant the right to appeal based upon the merits of the claims raised.

Contact One of Our Dauphin County Criminal Appeals Lawyers

If you believe a trial court erred, contact the experienced criminal defense law firm of Shaffer & Engle. We provide free initial consultations and our knowledgeable criminal appeals attorneys in Harrisburg can help you with all your criminal defense needs. Contact us online today or call (717) 268-4287.

Recent Cases Argued on Appeal with Successful Outcomes

Com v. Neiman

Attorney Engle successfully challenged the constitutionality of Megan’s Law III, pursuant to PA CONST. Art. III, Section 3. The Supreme Court found that the law was void ab initio. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in a 6-1 decision for Attorney Engle determined that Megan’s Law III did not exist from 2005 through 2012.

Varner v. Swatara Twp Board of Commissioners

Attorney Engle successfully sued Swatara Township when it passed an ordinance to change from a single ward (“at large”) system of governance to a “by ward” (9 ward system). The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in a 7-0 decision for Attorney Engle determined that the Township violated the First Class Township Code when it adopted such an ordinance.

Foundation for Elder Care

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held that Attorney Engle was correct that the Foundation for Elder Care was not a tax-exempt entity under the Hospital Utilization Test. Therefore, the five (5) homes owned by the entity in Steelton, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania had to pay their fair share of taxes to the County, School, and Municipality.

Com v. Berger

The Superior Court determined that Attorney Engle was correct when it ordered to remand a matter where a defendant was seeking discovery from the Children’s Resource Center, when, as advanced by Mr. Engle, it was acting as a state agent. On remand, the trial court was to review the documents requested by Mr. Engle’s client in discovery and, if they were discoverable, to have them turned over to the defense.

Com v. Price

The Superior Court held that Mr. Engle’s clients, two twins, were less than the statutorily required 4 years older than their alleged victim. The twins, both were 1,460 days and approximately 10 hours older than the alleged victim. A full 4 years requires 1,461 days (counting an extra day for a leap year). Because the twins were not a full day older than the victim, they could not be held criminally liable and the judgement of sentence for both was vacated.

What Our
clients Have to Say


    “Shaffer & Engle 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. They provided me with encouraging words and any possible leads they had come across. I was amazed at how caring my attorney was regarding matters outside of the actual case! After court, 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 them to take money for their exceptional service and they refused. I am forever grateful for their kindness and love each time that I look at my girls. Like my title says BEYOND AMAZING...”

    Jaimeen A.

  • I can say my lawyer did her job I had three pending case against me she did her research and told me this is what we can do, I walked in the court house with some pending charges.

    “I recommend Shaffer & Engle. I can say my lawyer did her job. I had three pending cases against me and she did her research and told me this is what we can do. I walked in the courthouse with some pending charges. I could have done jail time or probation. I walked out of there with a little fine and some community service.”

    Former Client

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

    “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.”


  • 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.”


  • Jeff provided us with clear advice and immediate responses to my multitude of questions and concerns.

    “Jeff provided us with clear advice and immediate responses to my multitude of questions and concerns. We are grateful our case is finally settled and would certainly recommend him.”

    Former Client