Stefano L. Molea


Stefano L. Molea

Stefano L. Molea’s dedication to defending the rights of those charged with a crime began at the very outset of his legal career when he interned with one of San Diego’s largest criminal defense firms. He has had the privilege of being trained by some of the most successful and respected criminal defense practitioners in the county.

Mr. Molea attended the University of Redlands and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, graduating magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with departmental honors. Mr. Molea graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the top 8% of his class, with magna cum laude honors. He was a member of Thomas Jefferson’s prestigious Law Review, in which he authored a case note pertaining to searches of probationers and the erosion of their Fourth Amendment rights.




Interacting with Law Enforcement Officers in 2016

Mr. Molea also had the honor of representing veterans as a certified law student in Thomas Jefferson’s Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, in which he successfully represented prior military members in various legal matters. Mr. Molea has continued to demonstrate his commitment to serving veterans by participating in the nationally-renowned San Diego Stand Down as a volunteer attorney.

Mr. Molea prides himself in the meticulous approach to every case. He is technically oriented in regard to the rules and principles which dictate the practice of law and the successful representation of clients. As the summary of accomplishments demonstrate below, his dedication and attention to details has resulted in very favorable results for his clients.

  • Best of the Bar- Criminal Defense San Diego Business Journal 2016
  • California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, 2016 & 2017
  • Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 – The American Society of Legal Advocates, 2016
  • Avvo Clients’ Choice Award, 2015
  • Avvo 10.0 Superb Rating
  • Top Attorney Nominee – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2014
  • Top Young Attorneys Nominee – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2013
  • Avvo Clients’ Choice Award, 2013
  • Top Lawyers in California – American Lawyer Media, 2013
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence-Veterans Legal Clinic Witkin Legal Institute 2010
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence- Civil Motions Practice Witkin Legal Institute 2010
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence- Appellate Advocacy Witkin Legal Institute 2010
  • California, 2011
  • San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association, Board of Directors 2014 – Present
  • California Public Defenders Association, Attorney Member 2013 – Present
  • San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association, Member 2012 – Present
  • American Bar Association, Member 2012 – 2013
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Member 2012 – Present
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member 2011 – 2012
  • Steigerwalt & Associates, APLC, Senior Associate Attorney, 1998 – 2007

An Interview with Attorney Stefano Molea

What inspired you to become a lawyer?

I grew up in an Italian family arguing, so I figured I should make it a career. Joking aside, I was always excited by the prospect of dissecting a topic and finding different ways to analyze each side. That passion led me to major in Philosophy in college, which allowed me to develop essential tools I use as an advocate in each of my cases.

Why did you decide on your specific area of practice?

Criminal law is, fundamentally, the relationship between the government and “The People.” I have always been intrigued by the struggle that is created when the government tries to restrict freedom and/ or invade privacy. As a criminal defense lawyer, I am proud to say that I play a role in the overall effort to keep the government honest and protect the rights of clients.

Are you known for a particular skill or specialty?

I enjoy the research and technical aspect of the law. Sometimes, as one gains experience in this field, it is easy to rely on what one used to know, instead of confirming that the knowledge is still relevant and accurate. I also pride myself in making sure that my clients know what is going on; I never want them to feel as if they are just being subjected to a process that is all a blur. Keeping my clients updated and informed is very important to me.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I enjoy learning about each client’s story and making them feel, through my dedicated effort, that all is being done to preserve their rights and to achieve the best possible result.

What sets your firm apart from the rest?

The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC functions as a team. We discuss our cases and brainstorm on ideas in our efforts to be thorough in each case. The results of our team, both individually and collectively, should give each client confidence that they are in good hands.

  • Achieved a dismissal of a conviction for involuntary vehicular manslaughter following the co-authoring of a motion for new trial.
  • Client arrested for felony robbery (strike offense). Client ultimately pled to petty theft as an infraction with only a small fine.
  • Second-chaired petty theft jury trial which resulted in a hung jury.
  • Client charged with three counts of petty theft and three counts of burglary. Negotiated favorable terms resulting in dismissal of all burglary counts and one petty theft count.
  • Authored motion which resulted in dismissal of a felony grand theft charge by the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Drafted motion to dismiss charge for illegal reentry of an alien after removal. The Assistant United States Attorney agreed to dismiss the count. Client went from facing fifteen years in custody to three years’ probation and was released with credit for time served.
  • Client was released from custody with credit for time served and received three years’ probation after facing nine years for a felony charge of possessing a controlled substance for sale.
  • Successfully drafted motions for disclosure of complaints against police officers.
  • Authored motion challenging a search warrant which resulted in the dismissal by the District Attorney’s Office of a felony gun possession charge.
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

To see more reviews and to learn more about Stefano L. Molea check out his profile.


Successful Resolution

Stefano Molea was recommended to me and I am so thankful that I went to The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC. I was so embarrassed by my arrest . But Stefano immediately made me feel comfortable and reassured me that I was in good hands. He explained how the court system worked and how he would handle my case. He kept me informed every step of the way. I never had to go to court. He did everything. My criminal case was dropped to an infraction. I am so relieved. Thank You Stefano Molea. You are the best !!!

Truly an excellent defense attorney!

When I first realized I was facing time in prison I knew I would have to hire a professional and experienced defense lawyer to represent me. I interviewed a few attorneys before coming across Mr. Molea and his firm. I hired Stefano because when interviewing him he seemed to really know what he was talking about and didn’t beat around the bush like others did. He was confident and told me what we needed to do, exactly, to avoid any real trouble. I followed all of his instructions, and sure enough, it paid off! I know for a fact that Stefano studied my case from A to Z because Stefano really put up a fight against the DA’s office. I was impressed with his work. He is also personable, always calling me letting me know where we were in regards to the case, and what other steps to take. I would definitely hire him again if I got into any other trouble.

Stefano is one of the BEST criminal defense attorney in San Diego

Stefano L. Molea is amazing. He was very helpful with my case and kept me updated with everything. He was responsive and knowledgeable about the case. All I can say is I was in good hands with Stefano Molea. Everything was great, my case was dismissed and I m relieved Thank you.

One of San Diego’s best criminal defense attorneys

Stefano Molea is by far one of the best attorneys here in San Diego. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a good experienced criminal defense attorney. He’s very knowledgeable, very caring, and a very sharp individual. He’s willing to fight for you and won’t back down from any challenge until the best possible resolution is met. I had the experience of hiring Stefano to defend two of my adult sons two separate cases and he provided results that met my expectations 100%.