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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

  • She has my highest recommendation for her knowledge, analytical skills, and demeanor.

    “Attorney Collins represented me in the most professional manner. I had the best possible outcome. I am grateful for her insight, her promptness, and her support for me. She has my highest recommendation for her knowledge, analytical skills, and demeanor.”


  • 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

  • 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.”


  • Jeff presents himself as a very knowledgeable and able attorney with sincere personal interest in the success of 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 profession. 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 thoughtful and prepared for. I cannot say enough for the level of professionalism this man presents while representing you as a client.”


  • Mr. Engle took my matter as if it were his own and followed through to the end.

    “I contacted Mr. Engle back in August. My custody case had originated in Delaware in 2013 and was the final hearing was held in May of 2015. After the other party objected DE having jurisdiction, he took matters into his own hands and got PA involved - where he lives. In a panic I called Mr. Engle after being referred to him by my DE attorney. Even though I wasn't a client and I did not have an appointment scheduled, Mr Engle took the time out to hear the background information, calm me down and come to, what I thought, was a good conclusion. Fast forward 4 months later and every email, phone call and frantic visit to his office was greeted with kindness and patience...and if he was unavailable, his staff showed the same warm professionalism. I could be sure that I would hear back from him within the same business day - sometimes even on his downtime after hours - or first thing in the morning. Mr. Engle took my matter as if it were his own and followed through to the end. I would not hesitate to call on Mr. Engle again if the occasion ever arose.”