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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.

Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Esq. has successfully argued in front of state and federal appellate courts, while 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

  • 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.”


  • He treats you with respect, has a great personality, keeps you informed, makes you feel comfortable, and takes time to answer any questions.

    “Hired the Law Office to handle the new Adam Walsh Act law going into effect December 20, 2012. State of PA and State Police was requiring that I register under the new law. Not only required to register but also changing my Tier level from Tier 1 to Tier Pending. Originally was required to register as a Tier 1 for 10 years but under the new law they were requiring to register for life. Attorney Engle took the case and fought from the day he was hired until the case was resolved. This is the only Law Firm I have dealt with that work diligently and kept us well informed throughout the case. Our case Won on two levels: 1. I am no longer required to register under the new Adam Walsh Act. 2. Successfully removed my name from the Sex Offender Registry. I am no longer listed on State or Federal Megan Law web site. I have worked with several Law firms over the past 10 years and Attorney Engle is the best Attorney. He treats you with respect, has a great personality, keeps you informed, makes you feel comfortable, and takes time to answer any questions. He fought for my rights where not too many attorneys out there will. AND he WON our case against the State Attorney General and the Pennsylvania State Police. I will recommend this Law Firm to anyone that need legal representation no matter what the case might be. Big or small this is the law firm you want to hire. I cannot nor can anyone predict the same outcome but they will fight for your best interest.”

    Former client

  • We recommend Shaffer & Engle to everyone and anyone, even if you are unsure if you have a case.

    “Our experience with Shaffer & Engle was beyond our expectations. Elisabeth is absolutely an amazing attorney! We were expecting to get about a 50% reduction in our case, but she surpassed that and got BOTH of the traffic tickets completely thrown out! Saving us from a driver's license suspension of up to 18 months long! She's spectacular! We recommend Shaffer & Engle to everyone and anyone, even if you are unsure if you have a case. Just ask them, they will explain all of your options and in plain English so that it makes sense to you! Elisabeth is unlike any attorney we have ever met. Very open, honest and down-to- earth......she speaks her mind freely and loudly! It gave us a more comfortable feeling having her represent us and our case! Again, Thank you so much Elisabeth, we greatly appreciate all you did for us! We will call Shaffer & Engle first for all of our future legal matters!”

    Katie & Derrick

  • 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.”


  • Mr. Engle was able to explain the laws in PA and got the job done in days.

    “I am an attorney in the state of Washington. I have a family law client who was in desperate need of legal assistance in PA. The case against him was affecting his ability to work. Mr. Engle contacted me as soon as my email was received and helped my client. Mr. Engle was able to explain the laws in PA and got the job done in days. I have never encountered another attorney as eager to help and get the job done. I would highly recommend Mr. Engle to anyone.”