Shawn M. Dorward, Esq.

Litigation Associate

Shawn pledges to provide you with informed analysis and honest advice to help you make the right decision for your case and your future.

Attorney Shawn Dorward is recognized as one of the most dedicated and hardworking attorneys in Pennsylvania, making him an outstanding protector of your rights. He has handled hundreds of cases ranging from Pennsylvania DUI (including CDL and refusal cases), to DUI with drugs, assault, battery, and domestic cases such as divorce, support, and child custody. With your case, Shawn vows to work extremely hard to secure for you the best possible outcome.

Areas of Practice

Attorney Dorward’s primary practice is criminal law, with specialization in DUI. He is especially well versed in challenging Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) from breath and blood testing. As a trial attorney, he is not afraid to argue matters before a judge and challenge the State’s sloppy forensic labs. A brutal cross-examiner, Shawn has repeatedly forced police officers to admit to untrustworthy evidence. As a criminal defense attorney, Shawn excels in challenging cases with the latest in forensic science.

In contrast to his aggressive DUI work, Shawn has also earned a reputation as a caring and knowledgeable family lawyer by handling divorce, custody, and adoption cases with all the necessary patience and care each case deserves.

Attorney Dorward is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and all Pennsylvania State Courts. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court-Middle District of Pennsylvania and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court. He is an active member of the American and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. He is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Specialized DUI Training

With hundreds of hours of advanced DUI and forensic science training, Shawn’s combination of knowledge and experience are unmatched by other DUI lawyers in Pennsylvania. He is highly-trained in all aspects of DUI and brings his expertise to the courtroom to defend your rights.

Some highlights of Attorney Dorward’s specialized DUI training are:

Attorney Dorward’s Philosophy

On most nights, you’ll find Attorney Dorward in his office, preparing his cases long after the support staff has left. A firm believer in hard work, preparation, and dedication, Shawn feels at home in the courtroom because that’s where he excels in protecting your rights. Attorney Dorward prides himself on promptly returning phone calls and being available to you 24 hours a day.

Personal Background

Attorney Dorward earned his undergraduate degree at Temple University where he majored in Sport Management. Through his major he had the opportunity of working with several major professional teams in Philadelphia including the Phillies and 76ers. While at Temple, he also participated in student government and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity where he had the opportunity to volunteer for several local community outreach programs.

After graduating from Temple, Attorney Dorward attended Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas. Here he dedicated his studies to criminal defense and in his third year participated in the criminal law clinic where he had the opportunity to represent individuals charged with summary and misdemeanor offenses. He also worked with a local criminal defense attorney primarily on a death penalty case where the Defendants life was ultimately spared.

While outside of work Attorney Dorward enjoys spending time with his family and working out in his local gym. With every aspect of his life, he attempts to be the best and always strides to put his best efforts forward.

Use the download link to the left to download Attorney Dorward’s resume.

Attorney Dorward
⋅ holds a current Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) rating as recognized by the USDOT;
⋅ holds a current certificates as NHTSA/IACP approved Instructor rating in the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement, Drugs that Impair Driving and Drug Recognition Expert Courses;
⋅ has been conferred plaques in recognition of attendance at the NCDD Summer Session held at Harvard School of Law in Cambridge, Massachusetts;
⋅ passed the proficiency based testing in Advanced Forensic Blood and Urine

DUI Certificates and Training

Seminar Nametags

Other Credits

From Clients

Shawn Dorward did an excellent job in representing me. He responded very quickly to all my questions and concerns. I could tell he really cared. The staff are very friendly and responsive as well.

C.M – First Offense DUI

View Original Testimonial

Courage, Professionalism and a Strong comittment to the defendant are all alive and well at the McShane firm!
Courage, professionalism and personal dedication to my needs were what I experienced when I was being served by the McShane firm. I feel as though this team treated me as they would want to be treated if they were in my situation. I can’t imagine how I could have been served better!. Attorney Shawn Dorward’s character and relentless drive to serve my situation made me feel that although we faced a very stressful time ahead I had chosen the right person and the right firm to represent me. Thank You Shawn and Thank You McShane firm!

D.G – Speeding Charge

I just completed the preliminary portion of the process. While there are a number of court related processes left, I have been impressed with Attorney Shawn’s professionalism thus far.

Possession of a Controlled Substance and Drug Paraphenalia

View Original Testimonial

Attorney Dorward was professional, and diligent in the handling of my sensitive case. He distinguished himself as a winner in my opinion by settling my case out of court. The professionalism Shawn displayed was only matched by his charisma, and ability to keep his client calm. I give Shawn 10 out of 10! I will recommend his services to anyone I know in the future!

From Peers

Shawn and I met at a blood seminar in San Diego. He is a smart and capable attorney who impressed me with his knowledge of blood analysis issues. I would recomend Shawn to anyone accused of DUI.

Attorney Craig Rosenstein, Scottsdale AZ

from Attorney Dorward’s Avvo profile

I met Shawn at a high level Forsensics Course in San Diego, California. Shawn tackled the scientific material at the course with enthusiasm and through our conversations showed that he is very committed the Defense of allegedly impaired drivers. Shawn is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and is very knowledgable in the field of DUI/DWI law.

Attorney Cory Yager, Atlanta GA

from Attorney Dorward’s Avvo profile

Shawn has been practicing law for a short time but he has been studying the fine points of criminal litigation for a long period of time. Shawn clerked for Justin McShane while studying for the bar. During that time, Shawn was involved in numerous cases and helped Attorney McShane prepare for trial. While learning from the best, Shawn has been busy developing his own style and finding his own voice. He is a charismatic lawyer and a skilled trial attorney. His experience is vast in comparison to his time in practice and in fact, he already has more trial experience than many attorneys with 10+ years of experience. If you are considering retaining Shawn you should have absolute confidence in his abilities and commitment to your case.

Attorney William Bly, Biddeford ME

from Attorney Dorward’s Avvo profile

I endorse this lawyer’s work. I have known Mr. Dorward for a number of years now and am pleased to say he is one of the attorneys that is vigilantly staying on top of and honing his skills in the DUI field. The laws and technology regarding DUI detection and defense are constantly changing and Mr. Dorward has demonstrated his desire to continue learning by regularly attending local and national DUI seminars. He is a fine attorney.

Attorney Bruce Robinson, Baltimore MD

from Attorney Dorward’s Avvo profile

I met Shawn through the National College for DUI defense. We attended the most rigorous DUI blood testing courses in the country together. Very few DUI attorneys could pass the final test, but Shawn shined. When your liberty is on the line, look no further.

Attorney Gary Pirosko, Denver CO

from Attorney Dorward’s Avvo profile

more reviews »

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Daniel Eugene LANDIS, II

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has issued a decision in the case of _COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Daniel Eugene LANDIS, II, Appellant,_ 2108 MDA 2012 (April 8, 2014), an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Juniata County, Judge Kenneth A. Mummah, Criminal Division, CP–34–CR–0000167–2010.The Panel was composed of Judges BENDER, WECHT and FITZGERALD who wrote the Opinion. There was no dissent.

The Appellant appealed from a judgment of sentence entered in the Juniata County Court of Common Pleas after a jury found him guilty of, /inter alia,/ DUI-highest rate of alcohol.Appellant claimed that he was entitled to a new trial because the finding that his blood-alcohol level was over .16% within two hours of driving was against the weight of the evidence. The Panel agreed and ruled that the Appellant was entitled to a new trial on the count of DUI—highest rate of alcohol because the blood-alcohol test result of .164%, which was relied on by the Commonwealth, was subject to a 10% margin of error and there was no further evidence to sustain the jury’s finding that his blood alcohol level was .16% or above within two hours of driving.

Section 3802(c) of the Motor Vehicle Code provides that: An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the alcohol concentration in the individual’s blood or breath is 0.16% or higher within two hours after the individual has driven, operated or been in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.

The Superior Court agreed that the jury’s verdict on the count of DUI-highest rate of alcohol was against the weight of the evidence. The evidence that his blood-alcohol level was .164% was unreliable because the medical technician only took one sample of blood and ran only one test. Moreover, the result from an Avid Axsym machine was less accurate than a gas chromatography test, and the evidence at trial established a 10% margin of error in the results from the Avid Axsym machine.

The trial record did not contain a reasoned basis for accepting the specific reading of .164% as either accurate or precise. There was no support for a finding that the reading registered by the Avid Axsym
machine was any more reliable than the possible blood-alcohol levels within the 10% margin of error. Moreover, since there was no direct or circumstantial evidence regarding the possible applications of the 10% margin of error, the trial evidence required the jury to speculate that Appellant’s actual blood alcohol content was .16% or higher within two hours of driving. Therefore, the Panel held that the Appellant was entitled to a new trial on the count of DUI—highest rate of alcohol.

The attorney for the Appellant was Shawn Michael Dorward, of the McShane Firm, Harrisburg, PA.

Commonwealth v. Yohe

Commonwealth v. Yohe – The firm once again finds itself involved with the Supreme Court of the United States. We recently filed a petition in the High Court for Writ of Certiorari. This is the case where we argued the NMS labs Henry-Ford-Assembly-line-like forensic science method violates the 6th Amendment’s Confrontation Clause.

We presented the following question:

The United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to a fair trial – including the right to confront “witnesses” against them. Here, the government introduced a forensic toxicology report via a “witness” who reviewed and confirmed laboratory analysts’ work – but did not perform, observe, or have any personal connection with the analysis. Does a “witness” who reviews and confirms others’ work violate the Confrontation Clause” In other words, who is the “witness” against the defendant?

At trial, the government did not present the particular witness from NMS Labs who physically conducted the accused’s blood analysis. Instead, the government and NMS presented only the PhD who reviewed the data generated by the particular witness. Trial counsel, the McShane Firm’s own Attorney Shawn Dorward, timely objected—making a complete proffer to preserve the Confrontation Clause error. Attorney Dorward carefully preserved his objection under both federal and state law. The trial court overruled the objection and allowed the “surrogate” witness to testify in lieu of the particular witness. Despite Attorney Dorward’s best efforts, the Judge disagreed with Dorward at trial and returned a guilty verdict for the BAC count, but found the accused not guilty of DUI: General Impairment. Never losing sight of the Constitutional harm, Attorney Dorward again asserted error in a well-written post-sentencing motion and accompanying legal memorandum. Sometimes, judges change their minds. And, upon reviewing the “surrogate’s” testimony and the presented arguments, the trial court agreed the government violated the accused’s Constitutional rights.

At the time this all happened, the trial court was bound by the case Commonwealth v. Barton-Martin, which held that a violation of confrontation required the charge at issue to be dismissed. Despite the binding precedent of Barton-Martin, the trial court ordered a new trial as the remedy. Knowing that remedy to be in error in that the proper remedy under Barton-Martin was vacating and discharging the defendant of the conviction, Attorney Dorward filed a motion for reconsideration with the trial court for the remedy. A hearing was scheduled for this motion; however, prior to the court date the government sought appeal of the grant of the new trial. Thus, the government became the appellant. The McShane Firm, LLC became the appellee.

After receiving briefs a three justice panel of the Superior Court disagreed with the trial court and overturned the grant of the new trial. In essence the three justices in the Superior Court, in a published opinion, held the testimony of the “surrogate” was sufficient Confrontation for the accused. Attorney Dorward then enlisted the help of Attorneys Justin McShane and Josh Auriemma to perfect a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Typically, Pennsylvania’s highest court grants very few of these motions—but the court granted it here. The Court wanted to help guide the issue and hear the lawyers on both sides argue the issue.

On that appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, several organizations wrote amicus briefs—“friends of the court”—including: the National College for DUI Defense Attorneys (NCDD); the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys (PADDDA); the Pennsylvania Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL); and the Philadelphia Defender Association.

Ultimately, after the Court received briefs from the accused, the government, and the interested organizations, the case went to oral argument. Attorney Dorward argued the case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Sadly, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court’s decision. Following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s affirmation, The McShane Firm, LLC went to the mat. With the hard work of Attorneys Justin McShane, TC Tanski, and Shawn Dorward as well as Richard Roberts, a law student intern, the firm drafted and filed a Petition for Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.

Now that we’ve filed the Petition, it’s up to the United States Supreme Court to either deny the petition or grant it. Once a Petition is granted by the High Court, briefs are filed and arguments are presented.

If you’re looking for professionally aggressive representation, contact The McShane Firm today and put Harrisburg’s most highly-trained attorneys in your corner. WE FIGHT!