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Drug Crimes Attorneys in Harrisburg

Protecting Clients’ Rights & Freedom Since 1951

Drug cases often involve complex circumstances and require thorough investigation and meticulous examination of all evidence. If you are facing drug charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side who understands the intricacies of these types of cases and who will aggressively defend your rights and look out for your best interests.

At Shaffer & Engle, our firm's managing partner, Jeffrey B. Engle, is a former prosecutor who applies the skills and experience he acquired while on the other side of drug cases. This insider knowledge of how drug cases are investigated and tried greatly benefits clients as they weigh their options and decide whether to negotiate a plea deal or take a case to trial.

Don't Let a Drug Conviction Ruin Your Future

Our formidable defense attorneys have successfully defended clients against all types of misdemeanor and felony drug charges throughout Pennsylvania.

Our drug crimes lawyers in Harrisburg can defend you against the following types of crimes:

  • Drug DUI
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug possession
  • Drug distribution
  • Drug manufacturing

The criminal justice system is notoriously confusing, and mistakes made at any point throughout your case can have serious consequences that could cost you your freedom, personal relationships, and financial security. The truth is that the decisions you make today can negatively and profoundly affect your life and future. When the stakes are this high, it's critical to obtain help from an attorney who has a proven track record of obtaining favorable results for clients who faced similar situations.

To speak with a lawyer about your case, call Shaffer & Engle today at (717) 268-4287 or contact us online. Call now and schedule a free consultation with one of our drug crimes lawyers in Dauphin County.

How We Can Help You

From a relative giving you a pill to calm your nerves to a friend leaving drugs in your car, misdemeanor and felony drug charges can arise from many different scenarios. We understand the importance of thoroughly investigating and evaluating every detail of your case and know that it is often the seemingly small details that lead to case dismissals and wins.

We have provided criminal defense legal help to thousands of clients throughout central Pennsylvania. We are local attorneys with a strong familiarity with area prosecutors, courts, police officers, and judges, and can provide effective, experienced legal help following drug charges involving a wide variety of drugs.

We have successfully defended clients in cases involving:

  • Prescription drugs (codeine, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Ritalin, Klonopin, Diazepam, Valium, Oxycodone)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin

Your Options: Cultivation & Manufacturing Charges

Do feel like you are facing a sure-fire conviction following charges of manufacturing or cultivating an illegal substance? A high percentage of drug charges do not result in a conviction or even a plea bargain.

Why? Because prosecutors must overcome numerous legal hurdles to make your charges stick.

For instance:

  • Did police have a search warrant when entering your property? Without a warrant, certain searches or seizures are unconstitutional.
  • Did police pull over your car? Law enforcement officials can only pull you over if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that a violation has occurred.
  • Do police claim to have found drug-production paraphernalia, drug sales sheets, sale-ready drugs, or drugs in quantities that indicate an intent to distribute? Prosecutors may face significant obstacles in proving that the materials and amounts conclusively indicate that you manufactured drugs or intended to sell drugs.

What Our Team Offers

Firm partner and attorney Jeff Engle has taken dozens of criminal cases to trial, both in the role of defender and as a prosecutor with the district attorney's office. Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Esq. has successfully tried cases involving high-stakes drug manufacturing and cultivation charges. As such, our legal team can fully investigate your case and provide aggressive, knowledgeable legal help following drug-related charges.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

If you have been charged with drug possession with intent to distribute, you likely face years in jail if prosecutors succeed in their case. Do not go up against experienced and aggressive prosecutors when your freedom is at stake. Instead, contact Shaffer & Engle.

We have succeeded in achieving acquittals and dismissals of charges in drug possession and distribution cases involving:

  • Evidence of dealing
  • Large amounts of drugs
  • The presence of alleged buyer lists
  • The presence of large amounts of cash
  • The presence of alleged drug paraphernalia, including weighing scales and packing materials

Our attorneys are intimately familiar with laws governing:

  • Probable cause
  • The use of affidavits of probable cause
  • Police officers' usage and execution of search warrants

A Team with Valuable Legal Experience

The law firm of Shaffer & Engle provides experienced defense counsel to anyone charged with possession with intent to sell, distribute, or manufacture a controlled substance or "look-alike" substance, also known more commonly as "PWI."

Understanding Pennsylvania's PWI Statute

The criminalization for this act is found in 35 P.S. §780-113(a)(30) and (35). The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act criminalizes the possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and makes it a felony. The ways in which police can prove that one is in possession with the intent to distribute usually come from the circumstances surrounding the possession of the substance. For instance, the presence of any number of items can allow prosecutors to assert that you are in possession and thus had the "intention" to distribute or sell the drugs.

They may use the following as evidence to support their case:

  • Guns
  • Scales
  • Client "ledgers"
  • Cellphones/pagers
  • A large amount of cash
  • A large quantity of individually packaged narcotics
  • Packaging materials such as Ziploc baggies or heat sealers

Drugs that are also grown or "manufactured" are also a felony.

Drug Schedules

There are five different schedules of drugs that are illegal to possess without being authorized by law:

  • Schedule I narcotics are those drugs that have a "high potential for abuse" and are typically opiates. Cocaine, crack, marijuana, and heroin.
  • Schedule II narcotics likewise have a "high potential for abuse," but may have an accepted medical use in America. Such drugs also include opiates or opium. Drugs such as methadone, amphetamines, and phencyclidine are in this group.
  • Schedule III narcotics are those drugs that possess a "high psychological dependence, or low or moderate physical dependence." These drugs typically possess some level of barbituric acid (1.8 grams of codeine per 100 milliliters).
  • Schedule IV drugs are those that have an accepted medical use in America and have a "limited psychological dependence and/or physical dependence.” Drugs such as barbital, chloral betaine, and phenobarbital are included in this schedule.
  • Schedule V drugs are those with a "currently accepted medical use" and "limited physical dependence and/or psychological dependence" relative to Schedule IV. Codeine with not more than 200 milligrams per 100 milliliters is in this group.

There are mandatory penalties for possession of certain quantities of drugs or live plants that are found in the act and in the Pennsylvania Sentencing Code. That is, the judge may not have any discretion to give you a lower sentence if you are found guilty of PWI of a certain quantity.

Defending Against PWI Charges

The manner in which a defense attorney may properly defend such a case is:

  • Have the evidence "suppressed," or argue that it was seized in some manner that was unconstitutional, thereby prohibiting the Commonwealth from using the evidence obtained from its case-in-chief.
  • Argue that the quantity possessed or the circumstances surrounding the possession was not indicative of possession with the intent to sell or distribute.
  • Argue that the drugs were not even possessed by you, rather by another that was not charged or by a co-defendant (another that was charged)

Many times, the defense may use its own expert at trial in such a case. If you have been charged with drug trafficking, you're facing serious charges. Even a first offense can carry harsh penalties. Many types of trafficking charges involve mandatory minimum prison sentences.

How a Search or Seizure Violation Could Work to Your Advantage

In trafficking cases, the key evidence is the drugs themselves. Police typically obtain this evidence through a search and seizure.

Perhaps the police found drugs while conducting a search of your:

  • Car
  • Home
  • Clothing
  • Personal effects

You have important constitutional rights when it comes to these searches and seizures. Yet the legal framework governing this area of law can be confusing, and police officers sometimes overstep their bounds.

They can do so by:

  • Conducting traffic stops without probable cause
  • Failing to obtain (or properly execute) a search warrant
  • Neglecting to read your rights after placing you in custody

These and other errors could have a significant impact on your case. If your attorney properly pursues them, key evidence could be ruled inadmissible. The charges could even be dismissed.

We'll Take Concrete Steps to Fight the Charges

When you hire our attorneys, you can rely on us to carefully inspect every detail of your case, from the circumstances of the arrest to the evidentiary chain of custody to the wording of the warrant. We will aggressively defend your constitutional rights at each stage of the proceedings. If your rights were violated in any way, our Harrisburg drug crimes lawyers will leverage that oversight in your favor to the fullest extent possible. You can also count on us to find any weaknesses in the evidence and use them to your advantage.

Get Experienced Legal Help

If you're facing charges for drug distribution, sales, or trafficking at the state or federal level in Pennsylvania, don't hesitate to involve an attorney now, before it's too late. Call (717) 268-4287 for a free consultation with one of our drug crimes attorneys in Harrisburg.

What Our
Clients Have to Say

  • 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.”


  • 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.

  • He took the time to explain the process, understand the facts of my case and provide suggestions like retaining a private investigator.

    “I came to Shaffer & Engle Law Offices searching for hope after I entered a plea in my criminal case. I had a false allegation filed against me for a sexual offense that I did not commit. I was involved with another lawyer for 2 ½ years, when it came down to day before court we felt he was not prepared to represent me. I either took the plea of "Nolo Contendere" or went to jail the day of the trial. I felt trapped. I had this allegation against me and I was innocent. I met with the Attorney Engle. He took the time to explain the process, understand the facts of my case and provide suggestions like retaining a private investigator. He offered to represent me and quickly moved to withdraw my guilty plea. That was granted by the court and we proceeded to prepare for trial. They uncovered many things that our other lawyer did not bother to investigate. They met with character witnesses after hours to make sure my defense would be solid. Long story short, the DA in my case withdrew the charges. I went from a convicted man to completely being vindicated. Shaffer and Engle Law Offices also were able to assist me in another matter relating to the criminal case, but in civil court. The same results, all charges were dismissed. I appreciate the work they did, their prompt service, care and attention they showed to me and my family. I found their services to be affordable when compared to what they did for me. I would highly recommend them for anyone charged with a crime that they did not do.”


  • He was knowledgeable, thorough, resourceful, professional and understanding.

    “I highly recommend Attorney Jeff Engle. He was knowledgeable, thorough, resourceful, professional and understanding. I did my homework before seeking out Jeff, as I needed an expert in Family and Education law. He was highly recommended to me, and he did not disappoint. Give him a call and schedule a consult. You will get an honest assessment of your situation, and he will work with you to ensure that you get the best outcome possible.”


  • 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