Six Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

If you are facing criminal charges in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then you might be worrying about how to find a good criminal defense attorney.

However, worry not, in this article, I have compiled a list of six of the best criminal defense attorneys in Harrisburg.

Additionally, I also discuss what makes top-rated criminal defense attorneys stand out.

Six Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Six Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg is the Capital City of Pennsylvania. Image from Wikipedia Creative Commons

Justin J. McShane

If you are in Harrisburg and you need an attorney to help with your Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) criminal charge, then attorney Justin McShane is your best bet.

The prowess of attorney Justin J McShane has seen him receive numerous awards and get top accreditations.

In 2012, he received the 2012 Pennsylvania Association for Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys (PADDDA) Outstanding Achievement Award.

A member of the prestigious Super Lawyers, he can also be hired as an expert witness for cases in the Middle District of Pennsylvania with regards to DUI investigations and defense and in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and Chemical testing.

You can reach attorney Justin McShane by dialing (717) 657-3900. He also offers free initial consultation.

Shawn Dorward

Attorney Shawn Doward is the founder of the Dorward Law Firm.

An experienced criminal defense attorney, Mr. Dorward provides representation to clients based in Harrisburg and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Since 2008, attorney Doward has represented clients who have committed misdemeanor and felony offenses ranging from DUI, homicide, violent crimes, drug possession and distribution, sex crimes, and traffic violations.

Hiring attorney Shawn Doward to handle your criminal case increases your chances of obtaining positive results through dismissals, acquittals, favorable plea agreements, and reversals on appeal.

Additionally, Shawn Doward has an “Excellent” peer review on AVVO. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and DUI Defense Lawyers Association

Elisabeth K. H. Pasqualini

Attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini is a top-ranked criminal defense attorney with 11 years of representing clients at both state and federal courts.

According to her LinkedIn page, this is how she describes her practice areas:

In her 15 years of professional experience, she has handled more than 1000 cases where she obtained favorable verdicts for her clients.

To contact Ms. Elisbeth, you can reach her by the phone number (717) 674-2811

David Hoover.

Attorney David Hoover is also a DUI-DWI criminal defense attorney based in Harrisburg.

With over 100 hours of DUI training, attorney David Hoover guarantees his clients that he will get them the best desirable outcome.

If you want representation by David Hoover, you can contact him via the Hoover Firm, LLC website.

The Hoover Firm, LLC, specializes in criminal defense, DUI, drug charges, and firearms rights.

John A. Abom

Attorney Abom is the founder of Abom & Kutulakis, LLC which is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Abom has 25+ years of experience in criminal defense. During this period, he also served as an Assistant District Attorney (DA) where he prosecuted serious felonies, conducted grand jury investigations, assisted law enforcement with crime scenes, supervised the ARD program, and worked closely with lay and expert witnesses.

Since 2003, attorney John Abom has served as a US Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney where he represents poor Federal criminal defendants with cases before the US Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, The Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court

Furthermore, attorney Abom is a death penalty-certified attorney who has succeeded in keeping clients off death row. He has been selected as a Super Lawyer for a period of 15 consecutive years (2011-2024).

John A. Abom also provides criminal defense services to clients charged with White-collar crimes as well as DUI and DWI.

Stephanie L. Cesare

Attorney Stephanie Cesare is a criminal and family law expert and an associate at Abom & Kutulakis, LLC.

She is a death penalty-certified criminal defense attorney and has represented individuals in Grand Jury investigations.

An experienced attorney, she has also served as a public defendant. She previously worked as a Senior Assistant Public Defender with Cumberland County where she handled Adult Drug Treatment Court cases.

Between 2018 and 2020 Ms Stephanie made it to the list of Rising Stars that is compiled by Super Lawyers.

What makes a criminal defense attorney stand out?

A lot of criminal defense attorneys are located in Harrisburg. However, not all of them can help you win your criminal case.

When one decides to hire a criminal defense attorney, you should consider the following factors:

  • The level of experience of the attorney. An experienced attorney can improve your chances of avoiding jail time.
  • The local networks of the attorney. Attorneys with local networks have a better understanding of the local procedures. Further, there is a high degree of chance that they have first-hand experience with the prosecutors and judges handling your case.
  • Accessibility and availability should also play a huge role when you are searching for a good attorney. A good attorney should always be prompt in their communication and updates regarding the status of your case.
  • Legal fees also influence who you choose as a lawyer. The best attorney will usually charge higher legal fees than their less experienced colleagues.
  • Certifications of the attorney. Martindale-Hubbell and Super Lawyers usually rate the best attorneys. Also, while not all attorneys achieve such achievements, some may have received awards from organizations such as the National Trial Lawyers.
  • Ratings can inform you about the good and bad sides of an attorney. Many online directory websites such as AVVO contain information and ratings on a particular lawyer. On such sites, you might find the profile of a lawyer and a review of their expertise from their clients.

If you cannot afford to hire the best criminal defense attorneys, you can always look for a cheaper alternative.

Additionally, you can look out for Pro-bono attorneys from organizations such as MidPenn Legal Services.

If you can, avoid taking public defenders to defend your criminal charges. This is because they handle a lot of cases at once, so, they might not be emotionally available and they might not handle your case with the intricacy it deserves.


This article is meant to introduce you to some of the best criminal defense attorneys in Harrisburg.

I have compiled the list from sources such as Justia, FindLaw, Super Lawyers, and AVVO.

Nonetheless, the list I have compiled is not exhaustive. To find other law firms and criminal defense attorneys in Harrisburg you can visit the FindLaw or Super Lawyers online directories.

Additionally, you can seek referrals from your friends or relatives.

In any case, you should consider the criteria that I have discussed above when making a decision to hire the best attorney to help you defend your criminal charge.

I hope this article has been helpful.