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Marc Steen Kohnen

Criminal defense Attorney at San Diego, CA

4.7   13 reviews
  • Licensed for 15 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2008
    Active Lawyer disciplined by state licensing authority in 2023

About Marc

Learn Marc’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    I represent all types of criminal cases and can defend you against both misdemeanor and felony charges. I am dedicated to protecting my clients' rights and providing the aggressive advocacy they deserve.

    19 years, 200 cases

  2. DUI and DWI
    Although a commonly charged crime, DUI is a serious offense that requires knowledgeable representation. I can examine all evidence brought against you to determine if your rights were violated and powerfully challenge the allegations to seek reduced charges. I handle first time DUIs, multiple DUI, under 21 DUI, and cases involving checkpoints.

    19 years, 50 cases

  3. Violent crime
    My firm provides attentive and strategic defense against all types of violent crime charges. Do not wait to enlist my proven representation if you have been charged with murder, manslaughter, arson, assault, false imprisonment, carjacking, or assault with a deadly weapon.

  4. White collar crime
    If you are accused of committing a misdemeanor or felony white collar crime, I can protect your rights and interests. I can create a compelling defense against such charges as fraud, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, credit card fraud, money laundering, and more.

Marc Kohnen is San Diego’s premier criminal defense and DUI attorney. Since opening the Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen in 2008, his high-profile cases have been featured and reported on by the national news media on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, Discovery Channel, TMZ, The View, A&E, among many other national channels & shows. In local news, attorney Marc Kohnen and his cases have been featured on San Diego CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates. San Diego criminal defense attorney Marc Kohnen has been quoted in national print media regarding his criminal defense expertise and his cases have been featured in local newspapers such as the San Diego Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, NY Post, in addition to national print publications such as the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In San Diego courtrooms Mr. Kohnen has obtained NOT GUILTY verdicts at trial for clients charged with offenses ranging from felony First Degree Murder to misdemeanor DUI. Within the state of California Mr. Kohnen has defended criminal cases in the courtrooms of San Francisco, San Diego, LosAngeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. He brings a wealth of courtroom and trial experience obtained fighting prosecutors throughout the state. Marc Kohnen has been nominated as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript, and featured as a criminal defense speaker at local law schools.

Marc Kohnen grew up both in the United States and abroad, and he speaks three languages. He has dealt with the incarceration of a family member first-hand, as well as the aftermath of imprisonment, and understands how it feels to be up against the justice system. Prior to attending law school Marc Kohnen worked as an assistant college football coach in Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1999, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2006. He has been a San Diego resident since 2002. In his spare time he enjoys recreational sports, spending time with family, traveling and reading.

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The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen
1350 Columbia St.
Suite 700
San Diego, CA, 92101


4.7 / 5.0
  13 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Ondrea | August 31, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
One of a kind
Marc follows through and is available for his clients. Years after my case was settled, he was still available to help me tie up some loose ends. Thank you Marc and team!
Posted by Joe | February 1, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Amazing Results on a 4th DUI
I contacted Marc Koenen in June regarding a DUI charge (my 4th in 18 years) I had been referred to him by two separate friends who highly recommended him. The retainer fee was much lower than I paid with previous attorneys. I hired him on the spot. He came up with a strategy for my case that we discussed in person. I was very confident I would do at the minimum 6 months in jail for this new case and a previous probation violation. It was a very scary time for my family and I. Mr Kohnen ended up getting me a resolution that kept me out of jail and I was treated as a first time offender. (my 10 year enhancement period had lapsed) This result I could have never dreamed of. I am very thankful for Mr Kohnen and his excellent team. My advice to anyone reading this, is to look very closely at attorneys in a big city. A lot of them run "attorney mills" where they basically just plead you out from a remote location and collect your money. I have seen first hand that Marc Kohnen cares, he has the skill, experience and has the relationships and connections within the San Diego court system to get the best available outcome. I am still in shock by how well it went!
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Posted by Aston | November 2, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great attorney !
Amazing attorney ! He picked up the pieces and was able to save my case ! He caught a major detail that other attorneys had not noticed ! Very fair priced and just an al around great human being ! Super great full with Marc !
Posted by Ben | January 24, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Attorney
I retained Marc Kohnen as counsel after being foolish and getting into trouble with the law. I hired him after meeting with him as I could tell right away he was professional and cared about the outcome of my case. He was able to keep me from posting bail and out of jail which was a possibility. This was a stressful time but I was confident we would have a good outcome based on how he handled my case in the courtroom. I am very glad I hired him instead of someone else. He was very familiar with process, the courtroom staff, judges and gave me excellent guidance. I highly recommend him.
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Posted by anonymous | July 12, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Attorney!
I didn't know what to expect when I called Marc's office. It was last minute and worries they would blow me off, like other attorneys were doing. But I got help immediately and they told me to not worry at all. Marc and his staff were there to help me through the process and answered all the questions I had. I really appreciate all their help with everything. I fully recommend him! You won't be disappointed.
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Posted by Nicole B. | June 29, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very Professional Team
I am writing this review now almost three years later to show that Marc and his team truly do care about your case. I remember like it was yesterday, I talked to so many attorney’s on the phone getting quotes but only met with one and it was Marc. I was unsure at first being that I talked to so many and they all were pushy not Marc. After meeting Marc and his staff I knew that they were the best in town and knew what they were doing. The best part is that they really do care about their clients and not just making money. They work with you and make sure that you are comfortable with what you are getting before you sign anything. I know because I had a few questions and was also very terrified because I did not want to lose my job being that I am out here in California on my own and we all know it crazy expensive. I have sense moved on from that crappy day, learned my lesson and have put it all behind me with the help of Marc and his professional team. Thanks again guys and I hope those reading this it helps you decide on who to go with, especially if you have any doubts.
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Posted by anonymous | March 16, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
One of the best attorneys I've come across
My case was somewhat touchy becauseI was with a professional Athlete. We researched a lot of attorneys until we came across Marc Kohnen. We were both instantly impressed and reassured we were going to be ok. He was very professional and we felt very good about his expertise. He kept us in the loop about everything, and was up front about possible outcomes. He saved me from what could have been a disaster. I'm so grateful that I had Marc Kohnen represent me. I would definitely recommend Marc Kohnen to anyone! Mickel
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Posted by A. Arias | March 1, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Definitely Recommend Marc Kohnen!
I had done my research and even had a couple friends recommend me to their previous attorneys but they just didn't seem like the right fit. After my continuous research I came across Marc Kohnen and scheduled our first meeting. I was instantly reassured by his confidence and expertise. Every time we spoke he was very clear and up front of the possible outcomes, and even then I felt at ease. I knew that he would do his best to represent me in court. Marc Kohnen and his staff were very prompt in communicating with me whether it was via phone or via email, they would answer all my questions and concerns. I was confident that he would do his best to help me with my case, and he did nothing but that. My case is dismissed and I am clear from all charges. I'm so grateful that I had Marc Kohnen represent me. I would definitely recommend Marc Kohnen to anyone!
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Posted by Aaron | March 1, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
One of the top dogs.
Marc is clearly the top end of San Diego Legal Defense. His office staff were all very professional yet still As I stood their worrying about my future staring out of the beautiful building they were working out of, they offered me anything I could think of to drink and checked on me from time to time as I was early and had to wait. The legal staff are also top notch and nice to work with. Every time I called in they were up to speed on my situation and new what needed to be done. Mark had a down to earth way of putting things out on the table for me so that I could swallow them, and he always impressed me with how well he was able to play the games. If it can be done, Marc can do it!
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Posted by Hunter | February 17, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Lawyer
As a young, dumb 20-year old, I needed some legal help after making a foolish mistake. Marc was very friendly and personable and guided me every step of the way. He handled a majority of the court appearances and was able to get my case expunged from my record after I completed the necessary court-appointed classes. I would highly recommend Marc to anyone, regardless of your situation.
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Posted by anonymous | June 22, 2009
Wins the hardest cases ever!!!
Marc won our case that a judge has not ruled in favor of in the last 3 years! His case was the first out of hundreds that the judge has finally ruled in favor of! He did an amazing job and has a very friendly personality and I would definitely recommend him to anyone!
Posted by anonymous | June 15, 2009
Best Yet glad we called
He is giving attorneys a better reputation and building a very good name for himself... I was impressed with Marc Cohen very step of the way during what we would call a hornbill chapter in our life's, We are very thankful to Marc for helping us , I was a real client so this is one Attorney you want to call when you need a lawyer. Matt
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Posted by anonymous | November 29, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Not worth it
Never calls back. Just a retainer to this firm. Shop around and get better more focused council.
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AVVO RATING 6.0 (Good)

Professional misconduct

This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2023.

Discipline, Probation; no Actual Suspension issued in CA, 2023
updated on 11/07/2023

This sanction means the attorney had a suspension placed on hold (and ultimately removed) by complying with certain requirements.

Work Experience

  • President
  • The Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen
  • 2008 - Present
  • Associate
  • Law Offices Of Kerry L. Armstrong, Aplc
  • 2008 - 2008
  • Attorney/Law Clerk
  • Steigerwalt and Associates
  • 2004 - 2008
  • Assistant Football Coach
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • 2001 - 2003
View all work experience


  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Juris Doctorate
  • 2006
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • MS - Master of Science
  • 2003
  • University of Vermont
  • English
  • 1999

Legal Cases

  • People v. Peter Robbins
  • Probation
  • People v. Jennifer Trayers
  • Not Guilty - First Degree Murder
  • People v. Valerie Carlson
  • Probation


  • Criminal Defense Bar Association of San Diego
  • 2008 - Present
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • 2008 - Present
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • 2008 - Present
  • California Public Defenders Association
  • 2008 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish
  • Danish

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2018
  • Rising Star
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2017
  • People Love us on Yelp!
  • Yelp
  • 2016
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • National Trial Lawyers Association
  • 2014
  • Top 10 Attorneys Under the age of 40
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Inc.
  • 2014
  • Top Attorney Semi Finalist
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2013
View all awards


View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • USD Criminal Law Society
  • Criminal Law Practitioner Seminar
  • 2012

Attorney endorsements

Received (13)
Given (7)
Endorse Marc
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 29
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I've had the pleasure to work for attorney Kohnen as a law clerk before becoming a licensed attorney myself. I learned everything that I know from attorney Kohnen, from how to treat your clients with great compassion to how to present a winnable defense. There is no question that attorney Kohnen is one of the best criminal defense attorneys around, but more importantly, he is an outstanding human being. If my liberty interest were on the line, there is no one else I would trust more than attorney Kohnen in protecting my freedom and vindicating my rights. I highly recommend attorney Kohnen for anyone looking for top-notch criminal defense."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Marc. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Approachable, ethical, hard-working, and intelligent. Marc is an excellent criminal defense attorney. I endorse and recommend Mr. Kohnen without reservation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 25
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Marc and his staff are the firm that we always go to when our immigration clients have criminal issues. They are responsive, accurate and reliable. I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 07
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have known Marc for several years and I have seen him in action on many occasions. He is extremely well-respected in the legal community and is an excellent advocate for his clients. Marc has obtained truly exceptional results for his clients over the years, whether they be as a result of court hearings or achieving excellent plea deals. His clients rave about his attentiveness and attention to detail. He works very hard to obtain the results he does. He is an excellent option for anyone in need of quality, first-rate representation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 03
Relationship: Supervised lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer. I have known Mr. Kohnen for many years, and he used to be my associate. Mr. Kohnen is a very hard worker who always goes to bat for his clients. He researches the relevant issues and is always prepared. Whether you need a good plea-bargain or need to go to trial, Mr. Kohnen is a good choice for you."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Marc Kohnen is an excellent, passionate, well respected lawyer in the San Diego legal community. He is very compassionate towards his clients and always gives 150% to provide the best defense possible. I really respect Marc's legal judgment, his trial skills, and his professionalism as an attorney."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Mr. Kohnen for a number of years and he is one of the more intelligent and dedicated attorneys I have worked with. Mr. Kohnen is well known and respected as a successful trial attorney throughout Southern California. I have personally seen him obtain tremendous results for his clients through his tireless work ethic and unmatched passion for criminal defense. I highly endorse Mr. Kohnen and wish nothing but continued success for him and his firm."
Criminal defense Attorney | Nov 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"This attorney works very hard for the client and keeps up with the law by attending legal seminars to assist them in this regard. I endorse this attorney."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jun 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Marc is a fierce advocate for his clients. He is passionate about his job and obtaining the best results possible on his cases. He is well respected in the courts not only by the defense bar, but more importantly by the prosecutors and judges. I would be confident referring anyone to him for representation."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Marc's experience working on high profile, complex, serious felonies makes him an invaluable resource to his colleagues, but most importantly to his CLIENTS. He is a good friend, but an even better lawyer."
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San Diego Criminal defense Lawyer Marc Steen Kohnen
Marc Steen Kohnen
Criminal defense Attorney
San Diego, CA
Licensed for 15 years
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in 2023. See details