Criminal Law

Criminal defense attorneys at our Waco law firm understand that if you are being investigated for a crime, odds are you’re feeling stressed, anxious and scared. The uncertainty of what to do next when you’ve been accused of a criminal offense can be paralyzing – at a time when it is crucial that you take immediate action.

We are a family owned law firm that values personalized care and take the time to build trust so that we can better serve you. There is no case too big or small for us to handle. We have a diverse team of criminal defense lawyers. Our law firm has defended people accused of crimes since 1925. We have seen it all.

The sooner you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney in Waco, the better your opportunity to get good results. You will have someone who knows how to protect your legal rights, keep you from damaging your criminal case, and build an effective strategy.

When you are arrested in Waco, it’s not over yet. Your case has just begun. The government will use all its resources to establish your guilt. During that time, it is important for you to meet with your defense lawyer in Waco to plan defense. Doing that gives you the opportunity to get over this life changing experience.

The stakes are high when you face a criminal charge. You should be selective in finding the Waco criminal defense attorney with the experience, knowledge and background to resolve your case.

The Waco Criminal Defense Attorney That You Want on Your Side

You must respond with an aggressive defense if someone you know was charged with a crime in or around the Waco area. That’s what you get when you choose us.

Dunnam & Dunnam has defended the accused in Waco, Texas, for almost 100 years. We have taken criminal cases to the Texas and United States Supreme Court for our clients. Our firm understands what it takes to get your criminal charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.

What does it mean to “win” a criminal case? In many circumstances, victory is winning at trial. In other criminal cases, it can involve advocating to reduce charges and punishment by negotiating a favorable plea bargain with the district attorney. Dunnam & Dunnam understands how to get you the best result no matter which route, and we have the results to prove it. We understand that you will have a lot of questions about the process. It is best to talk to a lawyer about the facts of your case. But we have prepared a list of frequently asked questions and answers for you to read in the meantime.

Our lawyers are uniquely qualified because we have a former prosecutor as a criminal defense lawyer. Additionally, the position as a felony and misdemeanor prosecutor means that Dunnam & Dunnam understands every aspect of the criminal justice system in Waco, McLennan County, and the Waco Division of the Western District of Texas.

Why should you work with us?

Dunnam & Dunnam understands what the other side is thinking. There are many things you need in a good Waco defense attorney. For example, your defense lawyer should have extensive familiarity with the law. A good Waco defense lawyer will have excellent attention to detail. Your lawyer should have experience successfully defending the crime you have been accused of. Your attorney should have superb communication skills. Your lawyer should adequately communicate with you through confusing and complicated situations. And your lawyer should have an excellent reputation from word of mouth. When you have been charged with a crime in Waco, you need the peace of mind that your criminal defense attorney has what it takes to preserve your freedom.

Dunnam & Dunnam is routinely named as having the best criminal defense attorneys in Waco. The firm has been named the Best Law Firm in Waco, and our lawyers specifically named as the best criminal defense lawyers in Waco by Wacoan Magainze. Our law firm’s attorneys have handled thousands of criminal cases in the county and federal courts. We have tried hundreds of felony cases here. This means we know not just Texas criminal law and procedure, but also how prosecutors in McLennan County and the Western District of Texas shape criminal cases against defendants. We learned the kind of evidence they look for. We anticipate the legal arguments that they make. We know the tactics that they use to convince people to plead guilty.

Experience in Waco Federal Court and State Court

As a Waco criminal defense lawyer, Dunnam & Dunnam attorney uses their knowledge for their client’s benefit. It helps us anticipate arguments ahead of time and plan defense strategies.

Our reputation allows us to create relationships with many people on the side of prosecutors and law enforcement. We know how they tick. We can see where mistakes were made, and who to talk with to get the information you need.

When you work with us, we will get you the individual attention that you deserve and describe the legal process in an easy to understand format, ensuring that you know your options and share our advice on the most advantageous path for your Waco criminal case.

We will use all our skill, experience, and knowledge to protect your rights and fight to secure for you the best possible future.

A Seasoned, Credentialed, Experienced, and Tough Waco Criminal Defense Attorney

When should you contact Dunnam & Dunnam? It’s never too early. If you have learned that you are under investigation or just been arrested in Waco, it’s time to get a lawyer. The prosecutor and the police will not put their investigation on hold.

Since 1925, our Waco criminal defense lawyers have established a reputation among clients, prosecutors, and judges as honest, trustworthy, and highly skilled criminal practitioners. We meet our client’s stress and anxiety with compassion and empathy. Getting good results for our clients accused of crimes in Waco requires lawyers who know human nature and Texas law. By practicing almost daily in Waco federal and state courts, we have opportunity to gain intimate knowledge of the reasoning used by prosecutors and judges as they analyze their criminal cases. Hard work, perseverance, and determination are what you can expect from Dunnam & Dunnam lawyers.

Power of communication

We believe in frequent communication with our clients. Each of our attorneys are committed to providing clients with honest and zealous representation, along with regular communication.  We provide each client with a written retainer agreement, specifically describing the services to be performed, and the exact expense anticipated. Your telephone calls and electronic communication will be answered and returned promptly.  We understand that communication is important in every case.

How can Dunnam & Dunnam help your criminal defense in Waco?

Respecting your constitutional rights. Most folks know very little about their rights when dealing with the police. If you choose us, we will ensure that your rights are respected.

Preventing you from undermining your case. When you’ve been arrested in Waco, the moment’s stress can make you forget that anything you say will be used against you in court. It never helps to talk to the police when you have been arrested. We can be your voice to prevent you from further hurting your defense.

Collecting evidence quickly. Evidence in criminal cases should be rapidly gathered, or it could disappear or deteriorate. We understand the method to collect evidence and how best to present it to strengthen your case.

Tracking witnesses. You may have a witness that can prove you were not at the crime scene. Or perhaps there were people around where the crime occurred who have different memories from what the police say. You may have friends or family that can speak to your character. Dunnam & Dunnam has experience locating witnesses.

Getting expert testimony. In some cases, experts should be used to help your defense. Our firm has worked with many experts to use them in defense of criminal cases in Waco.

Our job is not to prove you as innocent. But we do raise doubts about your guilt by picking apart the arguments of the government. All these things help us do this, and we will be aggressive in calling the prosecution’s case into question to get you the best outcome if you have been arrested in Waco.

Criminal Law Specialist in Waco

Thomas West is certified as a specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the practice of Criminal Law. Fewer than 1.2% of Texas lawyers hold this distinction. Certified Criminal Law specialists have experience in the preparation and trial of serious criminal matters. They have extensive knowledge of state and federal constitutional law, evidence, procedure and penal laws involved in these matters. To become board certified a lawyer must have:

  • Handled a wide variety of matters in the area to demonstrate experience and involvement;
  • Attended continuing education seminars regularly to keep legal training up to date;
  • Been evaluated by fellow lawyers and judges;
  • Passed a 6-hour written examination.

Dunnam & Dunnam is well respected by state and federal prosecutors, as well as judges. Not all criminal defense attorneys are able to take a case from arraignment through post-conviction appellate procedures. The skills required to successfully try cases are different from those required to appeal. As a criminal defense attorneys serving the Waco area, we have taken more than hundreds of felony and misdemeanor cases to trial, and we have appealed many criminal convictions in both state and federal courts throughout Texas and the United States.

What Clients Say About Dunnam & Dunnam Criminal Defense

“Thomas West represented me in a criminal matter and did a fabulous job. I was very happy with the way he handled my case an the end result was great. I would say to anyone in any kind of trouble to call Thomas West, he treated me and represented like I was his son.”

-Client wishes to remain anonymous

“Having children who attended college in Waco led to a good education and wonderful memories, except for that one night when poor decisions were made, clouded by alcohol. I live in East Texas and needed a local Waco attorney to represent my child. I wanted someone who knew the local system, the prosecutors and Judges. I know many of the attorneys in my home town and was given the name of Thomas West by the most prominent criminal defense lawyer in East Texas if not in the entire state of Texas. This referral was truly a blessing. He was able to work with the district attorney and court to obtain the best possible outcome for my child. I truly believe that when you pick a lawyer, that experience and knowledge of the local legal community in extremely important. Thomas has those attributes. He is very personable and has a fair and reasonable fee structure. In my profession, I have worked with many lawyers over the years. I think I know a good one when I see one and Thomas is a good one. I have worked with Mr. West on more than one instance and have been pleased with his services. If I ever need legal counsel in McLennan County, Texas, I will ask for Thomas West.”


“Thomas West is a fabulous attorney who handled a legal situation an acquaintance of mine encountered and did so flawlessly. Interestingly, most of the process, at least until its final resolution, was handled long-distance which could have adversely impacted the level of service. Thomas did an outstanding job. His experience and his level of professionalism was evident throughout the process. I endorse Thomas without hesitation.”

-Ric C.

“Thomas is one of the best attorneys in Waco an very highly respected by his peers. He has represented me on several occasions for various different issues, I have recommended several friends to him all very satisfied with his work. In fact, I have never heard of one single case that he has lost, he is also very honest and a family and church going man with high values, I have called him several times after hours, even on Sundays, and he has never failed to answer the phone. I own eleven different businesses and have between 28 an 32 employees at all times any time they need anything I tell them to call Thomas West he always takes care of their needs, and I have never heard of even one dissatisfied person.”


“When I was in college, I engaged in a series of pranks that resulted in my arrest and the potential derailment of my future. A friend of a friend recommended Thomas West, indicating that he was a very capable criminal defense lawyer. I decided to hire Thomas West and found him to be very knowledgeable of criminal law. Throughout my dealings with him, I found him to be professional, punctual, and adept at keeping me informed of matters relating to my case.

In the end, Thomas West was able to have all of my charges dropped in exchange for community service and my arrest expunged. I can not even begin to describe how grateful I am for his capable service that ultimately resulted in the maintenance of my clean criminal record, and thus the preservation of my future aspiration.”

-Client wishes to remain anonymous

“I highly recommend Mr. Thomas West to anyone. He is a man and an attorney who is true to his word and delivers results. I am glad I have Thomas as a lawyer, but mostly as a friend that I can count on when needed.

My name is Suzanne and I am writing a review on my lawyer Mr. Thomas West. I live in Waco, Texas and I am 48 years old. I am divorced with two wonderful boys who are my whole life. I graduated from Texas A&M University and I am a very proud Aggie. I am not very proud to say however, that I needed the assistance from Thomas to help me out of a very stupid situation that I was involved in. I found Thomas from an attorney friend of mine who highly recommended him to me. Thomas immediately met with me and we discussed my situation and how best to handle the circumstances. Unfortunately, before I could obtain his services I ended up in McLennan County Jail. My foolish mistakes were more costly than my family was willing to pay and I was directed to find a court appointed attorney. I was very hesitant in doing so as this person would not know me from anyone else, much less care about my situation.

To sum up this dreaded nightmare, I brought upon myself, I am safely at home. Thomas West delivered on his word and made a swear to myself that I would never end up in that horrible place again. My parents did not raise me to behave like a criminal. I had let my desire for alcohol turn me into someone I hated to see in the mirror. I had reached my ultimate lowest. I have since put myself back in school and am obtaining my masters in Addiction Counseling. My goal is to help people with these horrible addictions while ultimately helping myself. I am not going to tell you that Thomas West was the reason for this, but I will tell you because he did not judge me, make me feel as low as I had become, I stood strong with him by my side in court and held my head high and knew in my heart and soul that I am a much better person.”


How to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Waco

You contact us
Contact us by phone, email or using or contact form. One of our helpful legal assistants will ask a few questions and schedule a meeting with one of our experienced and trusted lawyers. The initial contact to our law firm does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Free consultation
We will discuss your legal issues with you for free to determine how we can help you. Even though we have not established an attorney-client relationship at this stage, our communications are confidential (kept secret) and privileged (we cannot be forced to tell).

Follow up
After our first talk we will follow up with you about our proposal on how we can help you.

We will give you a short written agreement that details the charges in your case. Our criminal law matters are charged on a flat fee or hourly retainer.

We represent you
We will be your advocate, working to successfully resolve the matter for you.

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If you have been arrested or indicted in Waco or federal court, Dunnam & Dunnam attorneys can help you.

Criminal Law concerns the procedural and substantive laws governing the prosecution and punishment by the United States, State of Texas, and other governmental entities of persons and entities for wrongful acts and omissions statutorily determined to be harmful to society and, therefore, punishable as crimes. Crimes are classified commonly by severity as lesser crimes (such as misdemeanors) and greater crimes (such as felonies). Crimes can, among other things, be offenses against a person, the family, or property, or against public health, safety, order, decency, or morals.

Dunnam & Dunnam criminal defense lawyers have handled thousands of hearings and tried more than one hundred jury trials in federal and state courts in Waco, Texas, McLennan County, and surrounding counties involving, among other things:

The following attorneys at Dunnam & Dunnam, also, engage in the practice of Criminal Law:

Jim Dunnam Waco Attorney at Dunnam & Dunnam

Jim Dunnam

Jim Dunnam is a Board Certified Specialist in both Civil Trial Law and Family Law.

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Gerald R. Villarrial

Gerald R. Villarrial has practiced family law, criminal law and civil litigation for over 20 years.

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Mason Dunnam

Mason Dunnam is the fourth generation of Dunnam attorneys at the firm since 1925

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Since 1925, our Waco criminal defense firm has represented people accused of state and federal crimes. We have the skill, experience, and service to get the job done right. Call us at 254-753-6437 for a free consultation about your criminal law matter.