Stefano L. Molea

Top rated Criminal Defense attorney in San Diego, California

Law Office of David P. Shapiro
Stefano L. Molea
Law Office of David P. Shapiro

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, DUI-DWI, White Collar Crimes; view more

Licensed in California since: 2011

Education: Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, Italian

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2016 - 2021
Virtual Appointments

Law Office of David P. Shapiro

3500 Fifth Ave
Suite 304
San Diego, CA 92103 Visit website


Stefano L. Molea is partner with the Law Office of David P. Shapiro. Representing those in San Diego County, Mr. Molea handles criminal defense matters, including drug cases, sex crimes and homicides. Throughout his successful career, he has represented nurses, veterans, teachers, CEOs, doctors, construction workers, waiters, lawyers and a long list of other individuals and professionals in both felony and misdemeanor cases. The San Diego Business Journal named him Best of the Bar for Criminal Defense in 2016 and for the last three years he has been named to the list of the Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers Under 40 in California. In 2018, the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association awarded Mr. Molea the Special Board of Director's Award for a string of wins that led to misdemeanor and felony cases being dismissed. 

After graduating magna cum laude with honors in philosophy from the University of Redlands, Mr. Molea moved on to law school. At the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, he was in the top 8% of his class, graduated magna cum laude and was editor of the Thomas Jefferson Law Review. Admitted to practice in California, he has spent the better part of the last decade researching, brainstorming for and representing those who have been accused of or are facing criminal charges.

Mr. Molea is an active part of the criminal defense community as a member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the California Public Defenders Association and the National College for DUI Defense. As he stays up to date on the latest developments in criminal defense law, he maintains a spot on the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association’s board of directors.

From writing motions to litigation, Mr. Molea’s passion lies in helping good people regain control of their future when charged with a crime. With an unparalleled passion and thoroughness, he defends the rights of those facing an uncertain future.

Practice areas

Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI, Criminal Defense: White Collar

Focus areas

Assault & Battery, Criminal Domestic Violence, Criminal Fraud, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Drug & Alcohol Violations, Expungement, False Accusations, Felony, Juvenile Delinquency, Misdemeanor, Motor Vehicle Offenses, Murder, Probation, Sex Offenses, Theft, White Collar Crime

  • 70% Criminal Defense
  • 20% Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI
  • 10% Criminal Defense: White Collar

First Admitted: 2011, California

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background:
  • University of Redlands, Departmental Honors in Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • California Public Defender’s Association
  • Member, Board of Directors, San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • The Impact Award is presented to an alumna or alumnus under the age of 50 with an outstanding record of career achievement and potential for greater success in years to come. , Impact Award, University of Redlands, 2019
  • Awarded for a streak of wins that resulted in misdemeanor and felony cases being dismissed. , Special Board of Director's Award, San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association, 2018
  • Best of the Bar for Criminal Defense, San Diego Business Journal, 2016, Best of the Bar- Criminal Defense, San Diego Business Journal, 2016
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers for 2016 - 2019, Rising Star, Super Lawyers
  •  Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer Under 40 in California, 2016, Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers Under 40, The American Society of Legal Advocates , 2016
  • Top 8% of his class with Magna Cum Laude Honors, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 2011
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Client accused of transporting over 20 kilos of methamphetamine across the U.S.-Mexico border. He maintained his innocence from the very beginning but the Federal agents did not believe him. After a thorough investigation, we convinced the Government prosecutor of the truth-that he had been set up and knew nothing of the drugs. Ultimately, the case was dismissed and the client avoided the stress and anxiety of trial. , 2021
  • Client accused of smuggling many kilos of drugs across the border and was facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in federal court. Following extensive investigations and communication with the prosecutor, the case was ultimately dismissed after we demonstrated the client did not know the drugs were in the vehicle she was driving. , 2020
  • Client charged with murder.  Following a trial, client was found not guilty and was released from custody. , 2019
  • Motion to suppress filed arguing a warrant was unlawfully obtained to draw blood from client. Motion was granted and blood results showing a .28 BAC were suppressed/excluded. , 2018
  • Motion to suppress was filed at preliminary hearing. Motion was granted and the result was the dismissal of the entire felony case. , 2017
  • DUI and hit and run charges.  Hit and run charge dismissed by motion prior to trial.  Trial on .19 BAC DUI resulted in not guilty verdict. , 2017
Industry Groups:
  • Legal; criminal justice; criminal law; criminal defense

Office location for Stefano L. Molea

3500 Fifth Ave
Suite 304
San Diego, CA 92103

Phone: 619-577-4463


1 Year Super Lawyers
6 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2016 - 2021

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