Legal Guide

The Crimes of Walter White: Every Crime Walter White Committed

Walter White, the villain protagonist of the award-winning television series Breaking Bad, accumulated a long rap sheet over the course of the series' five-year run. His path to earning the eighty million dollars he earned by the time he retired was long and bloody. This article delves into the numerous crimes committed by Walter White, providing a comprehensive list of both his major and minor offenses. We will also explore the intriguing questions of whether Walter White is based on a real person and whether he can be considered a villain. From drug manufacturing and distribution to murder and money laundering, we will dissect every crime Walter White committed, offering a detailed analysis of his transformation from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious drug kingpin.

Every Crime Walter White Committed

Every Crime Walter White Committed

According to legal experts, Walter White, the protagonist of the series "Breaking Bad," is a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturing drug dealer who committed a staggering number of crimes throughout the series. His transformation from a mild-mannered teacher to a hardened criminal is marked by a series of increasingly serious and dangerous crimes. Here is a comprehensive list of the crimes committed by Walter White:

  1. Drug Manufacturing and Distribution: Walter White's primary crime throughout the series is the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. His high-quality blue meth becomes his signature product, leading him to become one of the most notorious drug dealers in Albuquerque.

  2. Murder and Attempted Murder: Walter White is directly responsible for numerous murders throughout the series. He also attempts to kill several other characters, including Krazy-8 in the pilot episode and Gus Fring in season 4.

  3. Accessory to a Crime: Walter White frequently acts as an accessory to various crimes, often related to the drug trade. His involvement in the killing of Gale Boetticher is a prime example.

  4. Arson: In season 1, episode 4, Walter White commits arson by setting a car on fire at a gas station.

  5. Blackmail: Walter White uses blackmail as a tactic throughout the series, particularly in his relationship with Jesse Pinkman.

  6. Breaking and Entering: Walter White and Jesse Pinkman break into a reclamation plant warehouse in season 1 to steal a barrel of methylamine.

  7. Child Endangerment: Walter White endangers a child's life by poisoning Brock Cantillo.

  8. Concealment of Death: Walter White frequently conceals deaths, such as when he and Jesse dissolve Emilio Koyama's body in acid.

  9. Conspiracy to Commit Murder: Walter White conspires to commit several murders throughout the series, including the intricate planning of Gus Fring's death.

  10. Contract Killing: Walter White hires neo-Nazis to kill Mike's witnesses, racking up multiple contract killing charges.

  11. Criminal Damaging of Property: Walter White commits this crime several times, such as when he blows up a car and sets off an explosion at a reclamation plant warehouse.

  12. Kidnapping: Walter White kidnaps Krazy-8 in the pilot episode and also kidnaps Saul Goodman later in the series.

  13. Money Laundering: Walter White launders his drug money through the car wash he purchases.

  14. Tax Evasion: By not reporting his illicit income to the IRS, Walter White commits tax evasion.

  15. Illegal Surveillance: Walter White bugs Hank's office to keep tabs on the DEA's investigation.

  16. Intimidation: Walter White uses intimidation to keep Jesse in the drug trade and to manipulate others.

  17. Evidence Tampering: Walter White tampers with evidence multiple times throughout the series, often with the help of Saul Goodman.

  18. Assault and Battery: Walter White physically attacks several characters throughout the series, including his wife Skyler and his business partner Jesse Pinkman.

  19. Obstruction of Justice: Walter White frequently manipulates and lies to law enforcement, including his brother-in-law Hank Schrader, a DEA agent, to avoid detection and arrest.

  20. Possession of Unregistered Firearms: Walter White possesses several unregistered firearms throughout the series, including a snub-nosed revolver and an M60 machine gun.

  21. Identity Theft: Walter White uses the alias "Heisenberg" to conduct his illegal activities, effectively stealing the identity of the real Werner Heisenberg, a theoretical physicist.

  22. Destruction of Evidence: Walter White destroys evidence on multiple occasions to avoid detection by law enforcement, such as when he destroys Gus Fring's laptop that was in police custody.

  23. Trespassing: Walter White trespasses on several properties throughout the series, including Gus Fring's home and the Schwartz's home.

  24. Bribery: Walter White bribes several characters throughout the series, including Saul Goodman, his lawyer, and the vacuum repairman who specializes in disappearing people.

  25. Reckless Endangerment: Walter White endangers the lives of others through his reckless actions, such as when he drives into oncoming traffic to avoid being taken to his money by Hank.

  26. Theft: Walter White commits theft on multiple occasions, including stealing equipment from his high school's chemistry lab and stealing a trainload of methylamine.

  27. Terroristic Threats: Walter White makes several terroristic threats throughout the series, such as when he threatens Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz.

  28. Illegal Gambling: Walter White pretends to have a gambling problem as a cover for his drug money, which could be considered promoting illegal gambling.

  29. Domestic Terrorism: Walter White's actions, including his meth production and distribution, and the violence associated with it, could be considered acts of domestic terrorism.

  30. Unlawful Imprisonment: Walter White unlawfully imprisons Jesse Pinkman, keeping him in a pit and forcing him to cook meth.

  31. Felony Murder: Walter White could be charged with felony murder for any deaths that occurred as a result of his other felonious actions, such as drug trafficking.

  32. Conspiracy to Commit a Crime: Walter White conspires with others to commit numerous crimes throughout the series, including drug manufacturing and distribution, murder, and money laundering.

  33. Aiding and Abetting: Walter White aids and abets in numerous crimes throughout the series, often involving Jesse Pinkman.

  34. Resisting Arrest: In the final episodes of the series, Walter White resists arrest and evades law enforcement.

  35. Public Nuisance: Walter White's meth production and distribution create a public nuisance, disrupting the community and creating hazards for those living in it.

Walter White's Minor Crimes

Walter White's Minor Crimes

Even Walt's minor crimes were felonies. These crimes were not violent or drug-related but still would have racked up time in federal prison.

Blackmail was Walt's first crime depicted onscreen during the series. Walt approached Jesse Pinkman and threatened to turn him in to the police for his involvement in a recently-busted meth operation unless Jesse cooked meth with him and helped him sell it. Withholding information on Jesse's meth manufacturing operation from authorities for his own material gains could have resulted in one year in prison or a fine for Walt.

Walt and Jesse committed breaking and entering and grand larceny in order to get a barrel of methylamine. Breaking and entering is a fourth degree felony in New Mexico. Assuming the actual value of the methylamine was between $2,500 and $20,000, Walt could have been charged with a third degree felony. However, since the methylamine was used a precursor to manufacture meth, it is likely the charges for stealing it would have been stiffer.

Walter White's Major Crimes

Walter White's Major Crimes

According to experienced criminal defense attorneys who write for us on law, below are some of Walter White's Major Crimes:

Manufacturing a controlled substance is Walt's raison d'etre, the crime he commits in order to provide for his family after his death of lung cancer and the crime to which all of his other crimes are connected. Federal mandatory minimum sentences related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine impose a term of at least five years in prison. However, by the time Walt decides to retire blue sky meth for good, he has made over $80 million from the manufacture of at least 6,000 pounds of meth, an amount that likely would have netted him a lifetime prison sentence.

Money laundering is the act of funneling drug money through a licit enterprise, like the car wash that the Whites owned, in order to be able to report the money as taxable income. Walt, like real-life drug kingpins, laundered his money so that he could spend it without arousing suspicion from the IRS and making it more likely that authorities would discover his illegal activities.

Building a bomb to blow up the nursing home where his boss-turned-nemesis, Gus Fring, had entered would have earned Walt several charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction as well as the murder charges for killing Gus, his enforcer Tyrus Kitt and former Mexican drug boss Hector Salamanca.

Walt endangered a child by poisoning Brock Cantillo, the son of Jesse's girlfriend Andrea. Prosecutors may have charged him with attempted murder as well.

Walt committed concealment of a dead body in some of the murders he was directly involved in, including Emilio Koyama, Krazy 8 and Drew Sharp.

The murder charges against Walt, including conspiracy to commit murder and hiring contract killers, would almost assuredly have earned him several life sentences if prosecutors could prove his involvement in the murders. While Walt's actions led to the deaths of about 200 people during the course of the series, most of whom were killed in the Wayfarer 515 air collision in season two, prosecutors could likely only connect him to a handful of murders with Jesse's testimony. Jesse implicated Walt in the murders of Emilio Koyama, Domingo “Krazy 8” Molina, two unnamed drug dealers, Gale Boetticher, Gus Fring, Tyrus Kitt, Hector Salamanca, Drew Sharp, Mike Ehrmentraut and ten potential witnesses to the prosecution who were imprisoned.

Is Walter White Based on a Real Person?

Is Walter White Based on a Real Person?

The character of Walter White, brilliantly portrayed by Bryan Cranston in the hit series "Breaking Bad," has sparked much curiosity among fans and critics alike. Many have wondered if this high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturing drug dealer is based on a real person. The answer, interestingly, is both yes and no.

In the fictional world of "Breaking Bad," Walter White is a disenchanted 50-year-old high school teacher and part-time car washer. He is an alumnus of the California Institute of Technology and a former researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he helped a team win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. However, after being diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer, he taps into the profitable world of drug dealing to ensure his family's financial stability after his impending death. His journey into the world of crime, which includes becoming New Mexico's most prominent crystal meth dealer, forms the crux of the series.

In reality, there are indeed individuals named Walter White who have been involved in the meth trade. One such person is a former construction worker from Alabama who turned to meth production and distribution, becoming a significant figure in the local drug trade. His story, which includes being tried for four counts of drug charges and a misdemeanor, bears some resemblance to the fictional Walter White's narrative. However, it's important to note that these similarities are purely coincidental.

Another real-life Walter White, operating out of Montana, was also a meth dealer who distributed an estimated 32 pounds of meth and was eventually shot by his son. His sentence was a far heftier 12 years in prison.

Despite these real-life parallels, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan has stated that the show did not take inspiration from real-life stories of drug dealers. The idea for the series was born out of a desire to create a show where the main character gradually becomes the antagonist, subverting the traditional television trope of keeping characters stagnant. The concept of selling meth out of an RV was initially a joke between Gilligan and fellow writer Thomas Schnauz during a period of unemployment. This joke eventually evolved into the premise of "Breaking Bad."

In conclusion, while there are real-life individuals named Walter White who have been involved in the meth trade, the character of Walter White in "Breaking Bad" is not directly based on any of them. The series is a product of creative storytelling, and any similarities to real-life individuals or events are purely coincidental.

Is Walter White a Villain?

Is Walter White a Villain?

Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturing drug dealer, is a character whose morality is a subject of significant debate. However, as the series progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Walter White is indeed a villain, albeit a complex one.

Walter White's transformation from a mild-mannered, sympathetic family man into a dangerous and sociopathic drug kingpin is the central focus of "Breaking Bad". His journey into villainy is marked by a series of increasingly heinous acts, driven more by ego and greed than his initial altruistic motives of providing for his family after his imminent death.

The character's villainy is highlighted in his interactions with other characters in the series. Walter White's actions often have devastating consequences for those around him, including his family and associates. His hubris and arrogance lead him down a path of destruction, causing harm to many in his pursuit of power.

One of the most striking examples of Walter's villainy is his manipulation of Jesse Pinkman, his former student and business partner. Walter repeatedly exploits Jesse's loyalty and vulnerabilities for his own gain, leading to tragic outcomes. His willingness to poison a child, Brock, to manipulate Jesse further underscores his moral decay.

Walter's villainous nature is also evident in his interactions with his wife, Skyler. He subjects her to emotional abuse, gaslighting, and manipulation, demonstrating that not even his loved ones are safe from his destructive behavior.

In comparison to other villains in the "Breaking Bad" universe, Walter's actions stand out as particularly egregious. Unlike characters such as Gus Fring, for whom criminal activities are a business, Walter's crimes are personal. He commits atrocities because they suit his agenda, regardless of the harm they cause to others.

Moreover, Walter's villainy is not limited to his actions. His transformation into the ruthless drug kingpin Heisenberg is also a reflection of his internal moral decay. He embraces his alter ego Heisenberg, allowing him to detach from the guilt and responsibility of his actions.

In conclusion, Walter White is not just a villain; he is a tragic figure whose journey into darkness serves as a cautionary tale about the corrupting influence of power and greed. His character serves as a stark reminder that villains are not born but made, often by their choices and circumstances.


Walter White's journey in "Breaking Bad" is a complex narrative of transformation and moral decay. His numerous crimes, both major and minor, paint a picture of a man who, driven by desperation and greed, descends into the dark world of crime. While Walter White is not based on a real person, his character offers a stark exploration of the potential for evil within us all. His villainous actions and their far-reaching consequences serve as a sobering reminder of the destructive power of choices made in desperation. Whether you view him as a villain or a tragic figure, there's no denying the profound impact of Walter White's crimes on those around him and the viewers who followed his journey.

More to Read: