Michael I. GowdeyMichael I. Gowdey, Law Vegas Criminal Defense

Since its founding in 1993, The Law Offices of Michael I. Gowdey continues to be recognized as one of the premier law firms in Nevada. For almost three decades, we have provided exceptional legal services for individuals facing criminal charges as well as for those who have been seriously injured as the result of someone else’s negligence.

The stakes are high for our clients. Being convicted of a crime can result in years of imprisonment, hefty fines, and a damaged reputation. Suffering a debilitating injury in an accident can lead to insurmountable medical bills that cause financial ruin.

If you find yourself in a similar predicament, don’t gamble with your future. Instead, take advantage of top-caliber legal counsel and representation. With Mr. Gowdey by your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll have a fighting chance to get your life back on track.

Criminal Defense Lawyer In Las Vegas

Mr. Gowdey is one of the most sought after attorneys in Nevada. He has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases and achieved several acquittals in numerous high profile misdemeanor and felony jury trials. He's also recovered millions of dollars for clients injured due to negligent or intentional acts.

He doesn’t back down from law enforcement, prosecutors or insurance companies. You can always count on him to zealously protect your rights and make decisions in your best interest.

As Mr. Gowdey puts it: “Throughout my legal career, I've always tried to remember that each matter I handle is not “just another case” but a pivotal event in a client's life. One deserving of all of my skills and effort on that client’s behalf. It has allowed me to be blessed with many repeat clients and has added to my reputation in the community as someone you can count on and trust to do his very best for you”.

Call 702-471-0321 today for a Free consultation.

If you or someone you love is the target of a criminal investigation or was arrested and/or formally charged with a criminal offense, the person you want in your corner is Michael Gowdey. He’s the best in the business, earning numerous accolades including being named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Country by the National Association of Trial Lawyers, Top 25 Trial Lawyers in Las Vegas, and Top 100 Men of Success in Southern Nevada.


Mounting a Strong Defense Requires Early Intervention

After an arrest, time is of the essence. The sooner you involve Mr. Gowdey in the process — preferably before charges are filed — the greater the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

The pre-file investigation period is when law enforcement and the prosecution review evidence to determine if formal charges should be brought forth. During this time, criminal defense attorney Gowdey can reach out to the prosecutor and attempt to get the charges denied, or he may be able to negotiate a plea bargain aimed at getting your charges reduced or dismissing the case outright. Even if a deal cannot be immediately reached, Mr. Gowdey will have begun to lay the groundwork for an effective defense.

The Law Offices of Michael I. Gowdey defends against a wide range of misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and felony charges in state and federal courts, including:

Casino Markers & Bad Checks

In Nevada, if you sign for a line of credit or "casino marker" at a Las Vegas casino and have insufficient funds to pay the money back, you can be criminally prosecuted for "writing a bad check." These crimes are aggressively pursued by the Bad Check Unit of the District Attorney's Office. In most cases, the D.A. will tack on an additional 10% to the debt you owe.

If you have received a certified letter from the D.A. stating that you have ten days to repay your debt, it's critical to contact Attorney Michael Gowdey to discuss your options. Gowdey can intervene and either mount a defense to the charges, negotiate with the D.A. and/or casino to lessen the charges and penalties or propose a payment plan you can financially manage.

Domestic Abuse & Battery

Domestic violence laws in Nevada apply not only to couples but also to parents, siblings, roommates, domestic partners, and children. An accusation of domestic violence is serious and can result in jail time, restraining orders, and anger management classes. These cases are often based on “he said/she said”. Therefore, it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that violence took place beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on your unique circumstances, we may be able to provide evidence of self-defense, lawful resistance, or lack of intent. If the alleged victim is helpful, we can often get charges dismissed or a “not guilty” verdict at trial.

Drug Crimes

In Nevada, it is a crime to possess, manufacture, or distribute any amount of illegal narcotics or prescription drugs. These crimes can be prosecuted either as felonies or misdemeanors. Attorney Gowdey always aims to get drug charges dismissed. However, in certain circumstances, he may negotiate alternative sentencing options like a diversionary drug treatment program.

Drunk Driving

Under Nevada law, if a breath, blood, or urine test shows you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above, you will be arrested and charged with drinking under the influence (DUI). A DUI can lead to serious penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines, incarceration, driver's license revocation, probation, and more.

The best way to beat a DUI charge is to hire a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney. Michael Gowdey has helped countless Nevada, and California residents avoid jail and preserve their driving privileges. His intimate knowledge of the science behind chemical testing enables him to effectively challenge the validity of BAC results.

With marijuana legal in the State of Nevada since 2018, there has been a corresponding rise in DUI cases involving THC. Mr. Gowdey has studied the science behind the effects of THC, and is best able to defend DUI Marijuana charges.

Juvenile Crimes

If your son or daughter is accused of a juvenile crime, don't take chances with an inexperienced attorney. Michael Gowdey has a 29-year history of successful criminal defense and is prepared to vigorously defend your child. His aim is to keep him/her out of detention, remain in your care, and prevent a criminal record that could affect his or her future.

Theft Crimes

Theft encompasses a wide range of criminal offenses including shoplifting, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, carjacking, identity theft and more. Depending on the value of the items stolen, a theft crime can be categorized as a misdemeanor or felony.

Sex Crimes

If you are accused of a sexual offense, don't let embarrassment or shame prevent you from getting the legal help you need. The consequences of a sex crime conviction are incredibly serious. You may not only face incarceration but lifetime registration as a sex offender. Attorney Gowdey is known for successfully taking on some of the most high-profile sex cases in the state of Nevada. Here are some of the allegations he can defend against:

  • Lewdness or attempted lewdness with a minor under 14
  • Pandering
  • Living off the earnings of a prostitute
  • Soliciting prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault/Sexual assault on a minor
  • Pornography charges (owning or distributing child pornography)
  • Message code violations

Weapon Charges & Violent Crimes

If you face charges for committing a crime involving violence, your freedom and future could be on the line. These are serious allegations that require a vigorous defense from a veteran criminal defense attorney. If a weapon was used in the commission of a violent crime, you would face enhanced penalties.

Attorney Michael Gowdey will exhaust every possible defense strategy to clear your name and keep you out of prison. Depending on the circumstances of your case, he may be able to argue that you acted in self-defense or in defense of others, you were in lawful possession of a firearm, or it's a case of mistaken identity.

The following are some of the weapon charges and violent crimes, Mr. Gowdey has successfully defended against:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Battery With Use of Deadly Weapon
  • Ex-Felon in Possession
  • Unregistered Firearm
  • Attempt Murder, Murder
  • Robbery
  • Robbery With Use of Deadly Weapon
  • Manslaughter
  • Discharging Firearms Into Structure
  • Brandishing a Weapon

White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes are serious offenses designed to produce financial gain through some form of deception. If you face charges for a white collar crime, your career and reputation are on the line. Most white collar crime is investigated and prosecuted by federal authorities who have endless resource capabilities to pursue a conviction. Therefore, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side to level the playing field.

Attorney Michael Gowdey has represented individuals from all different professional backgrounds and is committed to protecting your assets, reputation, and livelihood. White collar crimes he has defended against includes but is not limited to:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Larceny
  • Misrepresentation
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Wire Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Tax Evasion
  • Aggravated Identity Theft

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies in Nevada

Under Nevada law, crimes are categorized as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony.

A misdemeanor crime is punishable by six months or less in Clark County jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. Common misdemeanors include shoplifting, possession of marijuana, battery domestic violence, and soliciting prostitution and are handled in the Las Vegas Justice Court.

A gross misdemeanor is more serious than a simple misdemeanor but less serious than a felony. Common gross misdemeanors include a first offense of open or gross lewdness, first offense of indecent exposure, and second offense of stalking. Gross misdemeanors carry a maximum one year in jail.

Felonies are more serious crimes punishable by more than a year in Nevada state prison. Common felonies include drug trafficking, murder, weapons charges, and grand larceny. These crimes are tried in Nevada's 8th Judicial District Court.

From Arrest to Sentencing: An Overview of Criminal Procedures in Nevada

While every case is different, there are certain laws and procedures that govern how the criminal justice system in Nevada works. Criminal defense attorney Michael Gowdey will be there to guide you through every step of the process to help you understand what is happening and what may occur. In the interim, here is a general overview of the procedures for a criminal case in Nevada

The Arrest:

The criminal process begins when law enforcement has probable cause to believe you committed a crime. This conclusion is reached by witnessing the crime firsthand or after a search warrant has been issued. As a result, you will be arrested or given a citation (common with traffic violations).

Following an arrest, you will most likely be taken to the Clark County Detention Center (330 South Casino Center Drive) for booking where you will be fingerprinted, have your mugshot taken, and placed in holding cell (we can assist you at any jail in the area including Henderson Jail, the Reno Washoe County Jail, the Mesquite Jail, the Laughlin Jail or the North Las Vegas Jail).

During this time, it may be tempting to want to deny any involvement in the alleged crime, but the smartest thing you can do is to exercise your right to remain silent until you have an attorney present. Remember, anything you say to the police can be used against you as evidence in court.

The police officer will submit the arrest report to the district attorney for review. The D.A. will review the police report and determine whether sufficient evidence exists to press charges. If so, they will either sign a sworn statement or criminal complaint or present the evidence to a grand jury.


Depending on the type of offense, you may either be released on your own recognizance or required to post bail. Bail serves as an assurance to the court that you will appear for all court appearances in the future. Nevada courts have bail schedules where each crime is matched with a bail amount. The most serious offenses require higher bail. For an allegation of murder, bail will be rejected outright, and you will need to remain in custody.

Bail can be paid for with a money order, cashier's check, or cash. If the amount is at or below $3,000, Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Attorney Gowdey can represent you at a bail hearing and argue for a bail reduction or modification if necessary. If you can still not afford bail, you or your loved ones can use a bail bondsman who will post bail on your behalf and charge you a small fee of about 10% of the bail amount. When the criminal case is completed, bail will be reimbursed.


Within 72 hours of your arrest, you will have your first court appearance in front of a magistrate judge, also known as an arraignment, held at one of the Justice Courts at the downtown Regional Justice Center.

At the arraignment, you will receive a copy of the criminal complaint, be advised of your rights and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you are accused of a misdemeanor, the court will ask you to come back for a second court appearance or trial. For a gross misdemeanor or felony, the court will set a date for a preliminary hearing.

During this time, Mr. Gowdey will request that the prosecution provide a packet of discovery which includes the police report, witness statements, forensic test results and other information relevant to your case.

Pre-Trial Hearings/Plea Negotiations

Once the arraignment is over, the case enters the pre-trial phase. During this time, Mr. Gowdey and the D.A. may trade discovery, file motions, and attempt to negotiate a resolution to the case without having to go to trial. This may include plea bargaining which may result in a plea deal that requires you to plead guilty but to a lesser charge with a reduced sentence. For example, if you are charged with a DUI, it could be downgraded to reckless driving.

Preliminary Hearing (Felony Case)

When charged with a felony offense in Nevada, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing. This hearing acts as a "trial before a trial" and is not meant to prove your guilt beyond reasonable doubt but rather to determine if enough evidence or probable cause exists to believe a crime was committed and that you committed it.

At this hearing, the prosecutor can introduce physical evidence and call witnesses to testify. This is an attempt to convince the judge that the case should go to trial. Attorney Gowdey also has the opportunity to present counter arguments and cross-examine the witnesses to try and prove that the prosecutor's case is not strong enough.

If the judge believes the case lacks probable cause, the charges are dropped or dismissed. On the other hand, if the judge reaches the conclusion that probable cause does exist, you will be "held to answer." This means the case is sent to District Court to defend against the charges.


If you face misdemeanor charges, you do not have the right to a jury. Instead, your case will be decided by a judge (bench trial). For felony charges, you may elect a bench trial or jury trial. During the trial, criminal defense attorney Michael Gowdey will work tirelessly to expose weaknesses in the prosecution's case and also to create reasonable doubt.

Compassionate Representation for Personal Injury Victims

Being injured in an accident is a devastating experience especially if the accident is preventable. Personal injury attorney Michael Gowdey has been advocating for the rights of personal injury victims for 23 years.

He knows the tactics insurance adjusters may attempt to use to pay you less than the full value of your personal injury claim. In fact, Mr. Gowdey has stood up to insurance companies time and time again to make sure that his clients are not taken advantage of. Therefore, you can count on him to advocate on your behalf for the maximum compensation available under the law.

Personal Injury Practice Areas

  • Car Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Motorcycle & Truck Accidents
  • Victims of Sexual Assault/Clergy Abuse