Kelly Martin


Kelly Martin is a Legal Editor for Nolo with a focus on criminal law. She writes for several sites, including,, and

Education. Kelly earned her J.D. at Golden Gate University School of Law, which she attended on a merit scholarship. She graduated in 2005 in the top 5% of her class with Highest Honors and received several awards for academic achievement.

Legal experiences. Kelly has been a licensed attorney since 2005. After working at the trial level for two years, she began representing indigent defendants in the California Court of Appeal and soon established a full-time criminal defense appellate practice. In addition to maintaining that practice, she spent two years at the Office of the State Public Defender, representing defendants on appeal in capital cases. She has also taught several semesters as an adjunct professor of legal writing and appellate advocacy at Golden Gate University School of Law. She continues to handle criminal appeals for defendants in California who can't afford lawyers.

Nolo. Kelly started at Nolo in 2022. She was inspired by Nolo’s mission to educate the public about laws that affect us all and is honored to be able to contribute to that work.

Other pursuits. Kelly enjoys road cycling (despite the spandex) and can often be found riding in the Napa Valley. This activity balances out her love of cooking and her enthusiasm for sitting around with a good novel and a lap cat.

Articles By Kelly Martin

Homemade Guns: Are They Legal? Must They Be Registered?
Privately made guns, including ghost guns and 3D guns aren't heavily regulated by the federal government, but some federal restrictions still apply. And a growing number of states have outlawed untraceable homemade guns.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
People who may legally possess and even openly carry weapons can't always place those weapons in their pockets or otherwise conceal them without breaking the law.
California Sexual Assault and Battery Laws
California’s sexual assault and sexual battery laws criminalize certain kinds of sexual activity when the other person hasn’t consented to it. Sometimes, even when someone agrees to the activity, the defendant can still be charged and convicted. Some sex offenses in California can result in life in prison, and most will require registration as a sex offender.
Burglary: Charges, Penalties, and Sentencing
When most people think of burglary, they think of a thief in a black outfit sneaking into someone's home in the middle of the night. While such activity definitely counts as burglary, the legal definition applies to a much broader range of activities.
Virginia Sexual Assault and Battery Laws
In Virginia, offenses like rape, touching intimate parts over clothing, and consensual sex with minors under a certain age are all considered sexual assault. Whether they’re punished by life in prison, a fine, or somewhere in between, will depend on the circumstances.
Texas Sexual Assault and Battery Laws
Learn the difference between sexual assault and sexual battery (called indecent assault) in Texas, and the serious consequences that can result from a conviction for either crime.
State Sex Offender Registration
Sex offenders must register periodically with state authorities for years after release, and their status as a sex offender affects and limits many aspects of their lives.
What Is the Legal Way to Bring a Firearm Into California?
It may be against the law to buy a gun out of state and simply drive it back to California. Learn how to bring a gun here the right way—and the penalties if you do it illegally.
Is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else?
Before selling a gun or giving it as a gift, it's important to know the federal and state rules so you don't break the law.
Crack vs. Powder Cocaine: One Drug, Two Penalties
Defendants get more time for crack offenses than for coke offenses, even though the drug is essentially the same.