Why Hire a Civilian Lawyer?

All members of the military have the right to be represented by a military lawyer who is appointed to represent you at no cost to you. You also have the right to hire a civilian defense lawyer. You may be thinking, “Why would I pay for a civilian lawyer when I get a military attorney for free?” The short answer is that your appointed JAG attorney is often best as part of a team led by an experienced, capable civilian defense counsel.

Your Case, Your Choice

Whether you are even assigned a military defense attorney for your matter varies depending on your branch of service. Some branches will not assign a military attorney to help you with nonjudicial punishment or investigations, while others may only offer you a short meeting with an attorney who can only provide general guidance but who will not have the time to learn the details of your case. Depending on the type of legal matter you are facing and your branch of service, the only option for an attorney who can review your case and give you personal advice is to hire a civilian defense lawyer.

There are some great military defense attorneys who might get assigned to your case. Some military attorneys are incredible litigators, extremely smart, and intensely dedicated to their clients. On the other hand, some do not truly want to be defense attorneys, and it shows. When you get an appointed attorney, you do not choose who is assigned to your case.

When you choose a civilian defense counsel, you get a say in who represents you. You want someone whose personality works well with yours. At Kral Military Defense, we take the time to listen to your concerns. We are blunt and honest in our assessment of your case. We tell you why we are doing what we do, and we give you all the advice you need before you have to make your own potentially difficult decisions. We are patient while explaining the process to you because it is very important for you to understand what is happening in your case. You will be included in every step of the way, and your input will always be valued.

What Sets Kral Military Defense Apart?

Abby and Steph have been working together for over a decade. You will not find our level of experience, collaboration, and teamwork anywhere else. We treat every client how they deserve to be treated, rather than treating them like a number or a dollar sign. When you hire one of us, you get personal attention. We communicate with all our clients through text messages, calls, and emails. We respond quickly and personally to any concerns that arise during our representation. We are approachable, real people who genuinely care about helping you.

Military Justice is the only thing we do. Other attorneys spread themselves across different practice areas. At Kral Military Defense, Military Justice is our whole mission. This allows us to stay educated about the fast-changing military justice system. We know the rules and laws for courts-martial, administrative separations, nonjudicial punishment, and other UCMJ actions. We stay up to date on technology, the news, and what’s happening right now in military justice.


We have extensive experience. We have litigated hundreds of trials and represented thousands of clients. We have handled every single aspect of a case – from before an investigation has even started all the way through appeal.

We never lose focus on protecting our clients’ rights. If a case can be dismissed or any charges can be dropped before trial, we try to make that happen. If we go to trial, we do not back down from litigation of any kind. We are confident and do not get intimidated by anyone or anything in the military. We don’t have to worry about a FITREP, OPR, or OER, getting a good next assignment, or impressing a chain of command. We only worry about your case.

Many military attorneys are overworked new lawyers with very little trial or military experience. Ask your assigned counsel how much experience they have. Have they ever litigated your type of case? How many years have they been an attorney or a defense counsel? How many courts-martial have they tried and how many of those were before a panel of members? Can you be involved throughout the process, and if so, how much? Finally, how do you feel after hearing their answers, knowing that your future rests in their hands?

Do You Need A Civilian Defense Attorney?

Not everyone will decide they want a civilian defense lawyer. But in your case, it might be a wise choice or even required to ensure your freedom. Servicemembers have so much to lose when they are facing a court-martial. A job might be the least of your worries. You could lose your retirement, rank, bonuses, benefits, and the honor inherent in your service. A guilty verdict can result in jail time. A bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, or dismissal can permanently scar future job opportunities. Sex offender registration can follow someone for the rest of their lives. When you hire a civilian lawyer, you are investing in your future. Consider the investment in light of everything you have to lose.

Ultimately, you want an attorney who you feel will do the best job representing you. You don’t want to spend your future questioning whether a better attorney could have gotten you a better outcome. Our most important goal is that you feel like we have done everything we can to get you the best result possible for your case. At the end of the day, you will see that we have worked hard, been dedicated to your success, and passionately fought tooth-and-nail for you. We don’t settle for less.

If You Want To Talk About Whether A Civilian Defense Counsel Is Right For You, Call Kral Military Defense, PC 619-376-6820.

Our firm exclusively handles military law cases. We do not practice in any other area of law because military justice is what we know and what we love to do. And unlike military attorneys who are still on active duty, we have the ability to focus all our time, attention, and energy on working on our clients’ cases. We do not have to worry about annual miltiary training requirements, going away parties, meetings to prepare for the meetings, answering taskers for slide decks, or writing performance reports. Moreover, you know if you retain KMD, we will serve as your military defense lawyer until your case is complete, without the risk of a PCS, TDY, or separation.

Kral Military Defense

Military Defense Attorneys


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*Please note, KMD does not handle cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, disability claims, or family law matters.

You never expect to need an attorney while you are serving in the Military. You even procrastinate thinking you can manage the simplicity of your case, because after all, you are innocent, and you think the Government will recognize that. However, sometimes simplicity is not a government characteristic and things can spiral out of control. If you are a service member and ever need legal assistance, I implore you to call an Attorney.You will want a knowledgeable attorney with a military background, extensive NLSO connections, who shoots straight and will be the sharp end of your legal sword.Stephanie Kral was my attorney through 3 years of managing my case against the U.S. Gov. and without Stephanie and her team, it would have been a nightmare. I am fortunate to have enlisted her services and had the opportunity to watch her navigate the complexities of military law. She is everything you will want in an experienced attorney for both simple and complex cases. Call them immediately!
Marty S.
Marty S.
The paralegal Danielle is one of the best I have worked with. She was and is still one of my mentors in my career and life. She took care of me a many others as a defense paralegal manager. She always makes time for you. Her knowledge and her compassion for taking care of people is why she is who she is!! The Best! She is someone you will always want on your side. She is truly one of the best people I know!!!!
Tasha S.
Tasha S.
Stephanie is the most professional, well respected, and most genuine legal person that I know in the business. After working with her, from the moment we talked to the time she finished my case, she gave not only 100 percent of her time and dedication but also complete devotion to my needs, advise, and my case without hesitation. Her extensive background in military law coming from her military background as a Major in the United States Airforce and now civilian law comes unmatched. Her dedication to protecting the rights of military members speakes for itself with the flawless record she has out there in the fleet. Words cant express enough what she has done for me and my family ensuring I got the fairest case available and the best outcome there was. Thank you Stephanie. She is the best there is!!
Anthony B.
Anthony B.
Fortunately, I have not had to use these services however, once I heard Danielle worked here I knew I would be in good hands should I ever need assistance. Danielle was my paralegal supervisor when I was first entered into the paralegal career field and she changed my career trajectory for the better. She paved the way for me to promote through the ranks and managed my training phase from an apprentice to a journeyman in the career field. She has expert knowledge and provides candid feedback to those who ask. She's an all around professional.
Don G.
Don G.
I have been attempting to write this review for Stephanie for 3 months, Everytime I write it I delete it because I don’t think it’s good enough. This review was long past due but To the individual that may be facing any type of legal troubles from the bottom of my heart this is THE lawyer that you want on your side. At the age of 21, I faced 20 years in prison for a crime I did not commit. Stephanie is the definition of top-tier no words can describe how grateful I am for Stephanie and her team. She not only got my case dismissed, but she gave me my life back, for 2 1/2 years I was stuck in South Korea my command didn’t allow me to take leave. When I told Stephanie she dropped everything and went above and beyond, Steph personally told the government they better allow me to take leave to see my family. THE SAME DAY! They granted me 45 days of leave & when I came back I received a call from Stephanie, yelling with joy “ they are dropping all the charges “. Stephanie is that lawyer you see in movies who always wins, even when you feel like something isn’t going right Stephanie is always in control. Not only did the government lawyers respect her, the judge respected her , the Commanding General respected her and knew her name. So all I can say is thank you Stephanie and if you’re someone who truly needs help this is your lawyer ! Stephanie told me I was her second longest case that she ever had but one thing I can always guarantee about Stephanie is she never lacks when it comes to communication anything you wanna know anything you should know she will let you know Stephanie is an open book she tells you how it is she’s not gonna lie to you or waste your time.From the bottom of my heart thank you Stephanie !
Darrell L.
Darrell L.
Steph is the best in the business. She is compassionate, hardworking, intelligent, diligent, and knowledgeable. As a fellow attorney and colleague, I have reached out to Steph to bring her on board and help with some of my toughest cases, knowing having her by my side would lead to the best possible outcome.She is a fierce advocate for her clients; she does not back down or take nonsense from anyone. She is one of the few attorneys I would never want to see on the other side of a case.If you are in a tough spot and in need of legal assistance, you will not find better representation than Stephanie Kral.
Daniel M.
Daniel M.
Before I retired from the Air Force, I had a life altering experience. I was accused of some very serious crimes and facing major prison time if convicted. I was referred to Stephanie Kral by a legal advisor and man, was I happy that I obtained her service. This woman is a master of her craft. She was professional, focused, extremely through with her research and background information gathering. Mrs. Kral’s litigation skills are at extraordinary levels and once I’ve seen her 1st day in court I knew I was is great hands. I owe my life to Stephanie Kral and I would recommend her to anyone needing the best military criminal defense attorney around.
Erik M.
Erik M.
Stephanie Kral is an amazing attorney. She went above and beyond and works tirelessly to get the best outcome. She is a caring and intelligent attorney who chooses to personally communicate with you along the way, always making you feel like a priority. Stephanie, Thank you for all you do!
Erin S.
Erin S.

About The Firm

Kral Military Defense defends members of America's military throughout the world. We do not maintain physical office space in the traditional sense. Instead, we offer secure video and telephone consultations and meet with current clients, as needed, at home and abroad.

Office Location

3111 Camino Del Rio N.
Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92108

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Nothing on this site should create an expectation of any particular outcome or result. Every case is unique.

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