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Stephen Gary Cline

Criminal defense Attorney at San Diego, CA

3.9   7 reviews

also known as Stephen G. Cline, Steve Cline

  • Licensed for 30 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1994
    Status
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Stephen

Learn Stephen’s areas of practice.

3
Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    60%
    Specializing in felony criminal cases, Mr. Cline has years of experience in difficult charges: murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, gang allegations, cartel ties, child molestation, sexual assault, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and possesion and sales. As a no-nonsense attorney, Mr. Cline is honest and straigt forward with his clients. His years of experience and heavy case load have given him valuable insight into the reality of a client's situation and their realistic options.

    31 years, 5,000 cases

  2. DUI and DWI
    30%

  3. Personal injury
    10%

    31 years

Originally from Sacramento, California, Mr. Cline came to San Diego to attend California Western School of Law after graduating from California State University at Sacramento with a degree in Government and Psychology. While at California Western School of Law it became clear that his talents lay in oral advocacy where he received honors in Trial Practice, Advanced Criminal Practice, Appellate Advocacy, Mediation, and Negotiation. Mr. Cline accepted an internship position at the San Diego County Public Defenders Office during his second year of law school where he assisted on several high profile murder cases. His work led to a position as a paid law clerk and post bar clerk with that office. After graduation and successful completion of the California Bar Examination in 1993, he was offered and accepted a position as a San Diego County Deputy Public Defender. He quickly established a reputation as an aggressive, thorough, and ethical attorney who distinguished himself with several cutting edge victories including as the first criminal defense attorney in San Diego County history to successfully remove an entire prosecutorial agency from the prosecution of a criminal case. After nine years as a DPD, he entered private practice where he continued to distinguish himself with high profile cases and appearances on national television shows such as Dateline and Crime and Punishment. For more than 10 years now, the national attorney rating service Martindale-Hubbell has recognized his practice as having reached the height of professional excellence while maintaining the highest levels of skill and integrity (AV rated). He has been further honored as one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys for Criminal Defense by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2007, 2012 and 2013, named a Top Attorney by San Diego Magazine in 2013, 2014, 2015, Top 10 in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys and selected as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the Nation Association of Distinguished Counsel. He was once asked why he settled into being a San Diego criminal lawyer so easily and worked so successfully with the most difficult and/or serious cases. In seeking an answer, he realized that it was, in fact, “the trouble and frustrations within my own history that has made it possible. Unlike most attorneys, I have personally known serious trouble. I have seen up close and personal exactly what such trouble can do to defendants and their families.” For these reasons, Mr. Cline can bring an unrivaled level of personal experience to the difficult task of assisting clients and their families in finding the best possible resolution to potentially catastrophic situations.

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Location

Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline
3500 5th Avenue
Suite 304
San Diego, CA, 92103

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Reviews

3.9 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
5 Star
 
71%
4 Star
 
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1 Star
 
29%
Posted by Vickie | May 4, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
EXCELLENT ATTORNEY
I recently was charged with a crime, a felony, but because of prop 47, it became a misdemeanor, HOWEVER, perhaps not for me. To make matters worse, I picked up a SECOND case shortly after. I unfortunately have quite an extensive past, involving 2 state prison terms. Because of that, these misdemeanors could have very well been brought up to a felony, because of my past and I may have been facing another long prison term. I did not have much time to act, however I did not have the means for an attorney, and accepted the fact I would be getting a public defender. Without going into personal detail, I had A LOT more to lose than just my freedom, a mentally challenged brother who lives with me, as I take care of him. He ONLY has me. I had A LOT to lose. ONE DAY before my initial court date, I had the means to hire a private attorney. One day. I googled, "TOP CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS IN SAN DIEGO", and MR. STEPHEN CLINE'S name came up, top on the page. I called his office. My call was answered by TRISHA PHILLIPS, Mr. Cline's office manager and assistant. Trisha listened patiently to my panicked story, was extremely professional and sympathetic towards me. I hired Mr. Cline OVER the phone with Trisha, and drove to his office to settle arrangements with her. In one hour, I had an attorney, without ever meeting Mr. Cline at that point, I somehow KNEW, I was in THE BEST of hands. Mr. Cline appeared in court for me the following morning. I received a call from Trisha afterwards relaying the outcome of the day. Because of the severity, not the charge thus far, but the severity of my PAST, Mr. Cline was completely up front with me of the possibilities I faced and his course of action he planned to take so I would receive the best possible outcome. Anyone going through a court case knows, your attorney can never guarantee you anything, but what he can tell you, is what he plans to do for you. This is the moment, you will KNOW, if you hired a great attorney, if he or she is planning to FIGHT for you. Mr. Cline did this for me. I KNEW, I could not have hired ANYONE better. I knew he was going to fight for me. He had legal aids work closely with me, gathering details that Mr. Cline requested, and he continued going to court, on my behalf, all through the court proceedings, and then I would be informed of each outcome. Finally, sentencing day and it was over. TWO cases, an extensive background, TWO prison prior terms......and I NEVER stepped into the courtroom ONCE, Mr. Cline did. I did NOT get a state prison term, nor even a county jail sentence. I am doing 3 months house arrest, 5 days public work service and of course, fines, which is out of any attorneys control. Believe me, going through court proceedings is terrifying, especially when you're facing prison. I have done it twice, and the court proceedings are almost worst than the time, almost. As frightened as I was about my possibilities of prison again, I never felt the intense pressures and stress of going to court. I never stepped a foot inside, I didn't have to, I hired, THE TOP CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO !! This is a FACT ! I am not proud of my past, but I am not too ashamed of it either, I paid my dues and my debt to society and I've been told and I know, I paid a little too harshly for my offenses in the past. Thankfully, because of Mr. Cline, I did not have to pay once more, with my freedom. This ATTORNEY.....he is THE ONE to have on your side !!! I was almost sorry when it was over because I wouldn't be seeing him again.......NOT IN HIS OFFICE !! Not me ! I was would like to add, my case was finalized 3 months ago. I have had attorneys in the past...once the case is over, his office is done with you. Not at Mr. Cline's. I have called many times with questions since, regarding my court orders, and ALWAYS, Trisha is there to guide and advise me. I cannot say enough and I cannot THANK YOU enough Mr. Cline, Trisha and your entire team !!
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Posted by Oliver | October 20, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent legal service
Mr. Cline was an excellent lawyer, he helped me in my legal mater and got me through it with the best possible outcome. If I ever need a lawyer or any legal service again I will not hesitate to talk to Mr. Cline.
Posted by anonymous | March 18, 2015
Incredible Defense Attorney
Steve's experience, relationships with prosecutors, and diligence set him apart from other defense attorneys. He provides his clients with the peace of mind that he will achieve the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Moreover, he is sympathetic, understanding, and never patronizing. Steve knows that a client's lone bad decision can be life altering and he takes utmost care in preserving that client's dignity. If you are looking for or recommending a defense attorney, Steve Cline needs to be on that short list.
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Posted by Dennis | February 25, 2015
An attorney for your entire family
Steve Cline has provided me with outstanding service and professionalism. Additionally he has, voluntarily represented a younger member of my family at his own suggestion even though the charges were very small and not something you would expect him to deal with. Once Mr. Cline represents you, then you and your family become his concern for all legal matters . Steve truly cares about his clients.
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Posted by Greg | February 23, 2015
Profesional-Trustworthy Legal Council with Integrity: High Recommend.
I have known Stephen Cline for more than 15 years. He has represented both me and my businesses on several occasions and a variety of matters. As the owner of several business entities in different industries, I am faced with a regular stream of legal demands or needs. Steve has handled it all- from extremely complex litigation to nuisance complaints. He is an aggressive, straight forward and honest attorney. I would highly recommend him to friends, family or colleagues.
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Posted by Latayia | April 12, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Crooked
Not a good attorney gave my loved one a juvenile record and he never even been to juvenile had his bun $250,000 didn't even use his phone for the evidence how many other people out there have he did this too not a good court appointed attorney even did a complaint against him and they deny my complaint talking about my brother have to do it where's the justice if there's nothing but crooked attorneys out there. Wish I could give him no stars.
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Posted by Angela | June 15, 2022
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Bad
Did not help did not use my brother evidence to prove that he was innocent not gave him someone juvenile record do not recommend no good
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Cost

Rates
  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 275-320 per hour
  • Contingency 20%-35%
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 9.9 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Principal Attorney
  • Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline
  • 2002 - Present
  • Deputy Public Defender
  • Public Defender's Office
  • 1993 - 2002

Education

  • California Western School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1993
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1989

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Double First Degree Murder Charges
  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Assault with deadly weapon on video
  • Not guilty
  • Armed robbery
  • Dismissed
View all legal cases

Associations

  • Manchester's Whos Who
  • Honored Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • American Association for Justice
  • Member
  • 2004 - Present
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Member
  • 2004 - Present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • Criminal Defense Bar Assocaition
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1993 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • National Trial Lawyers
  • 2014
  • Top Lawyers
  • San Diego Magazine
  • 2014
  • AV Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2014
  • Top Attorney
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2013
  • Top Lawyers
  • San Diego Magazine
  • 2013
  • AV Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2013
  • Top Attorney
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2012
  • AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2012
  • Top Attorney- SemiFinalist
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2011
  • AV Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2011
  • AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2010
  • Top Attorney- SemiFinalist
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2009
  • AV Preeminant
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2009
  • AV Preeminant
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2008
  • AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2007
  • San Diego's Top Attorney
  • San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2007
  • AV Preeminant
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2006
  • AV Preeminant
  • Martindale Hubbell
  • 2005
  • AV Preeminent
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2004
  • Negotiation
  • California Western School of Law
  • 1993
  • Trial Practice
  • American Jurisprudence Award
  • 1992
View all awards

Publications

Attorney endorsements

Received (8)
Given (8)
Endorse Stephen
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Stephen is an exceptional criminal defense attorney whose reputation speaks for itself. Recommended with complete confidence."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Stephen Cline is a skilled attorney who consistently achieves the best result for his clients. Stephen is well respected in the criminal defense community. Judges and prosecutors alike have a great deal of respect for him. Stephen is a constant professional, experienced in the field, and a clever advocate for his clients. I highly endorse Stephen."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Stephen is a top notch criminal defense practitioner and should not be overlooked if you need an aggressive and experienced attorney on your case."
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 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Steve Cline is at the top of a short list of San Diego's premier criminal defense attorneys. His trial experience in the most serious felonies is second to none in the private defense bar and he is a valuable resource to his fellow attorneys here in San Diego, but most of all to his clients."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Steve is a fabulous attorney. He is hardworking, diligent and compassionate. He is highly regarded by his peers and by the courts. I know him to work extremely hard on all of his cases. His clients are very fortunate to have himr on their side! I would recommend Stephen Cline without hesitation to any potential client. He's that good!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 04
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer."
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