Howard County Criminal Lawyer
Located in central Maryland, Howard County is often considered an ideal place to live. It is the third wealthiest county in the nation, and it is praised for its excellent school system and award-winning public library. Additionally, Howard County crime rates are significantly lower than the state average, with an overall crime rate nearly 31 percent lower than the average Maryland crime rate. When dealing with violent crimes, the difference is even more staggering—with a rate of 204 violent crimes per 100,000 people, Howard County violent crime is 63 percent lower than the state average.
A low crime rate, however, does not mean that crime is non-existent. In fact, while Howard County’s already low overall crime rate saw a slight decline between 2010 and 2011, certain violent crimes, including aggravated assault and rape, actually increased.
For those accused of property crimes or violent crimes in Howard County, finding a Maryland criminal lawyer equipped to handle the defense is perhaps most important step in avoiding unjust prosecution.
Criminal Offenses in Howard County, Maryland
The Howard County Police Department’s Annual Crime Report for 2010 divides crimes into Part I Offenses and Part II Offenses, in accordance with the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Part I Offenses are serious violent crimes and felony property crimes, although theft, included as a Part I crime, may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony in Maryland. Part II Offenses include both misdemeanors and felonies. While Howard County police report 18,114 crimes in 2010, the overwhelming majority of these crimes—10,785—were Part II Offenses:
- Second Degree Assault
- White Collar Crimes – Forgery, Embezzlement, Fraud
- Prostitution and Solicitation
- Gun Crimes
- Drug Crimes
- Sex Crimes (excluding rape, which is listed as a Part I crime)
- Domestic Violence
Misdemeanor offenses are generally considered less severe than felonies, but they still carry the potential for harsh sentencing, including fines, probation, and jail or prison. Felonies can include much longer prison sentences, including life in prison.
Part I Offenses, or those serious offenses reported by local agencies to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, accounted for only 7,329 of the county’s total crimes, most of which were theft-related. Part I crimes include:
- Criminal Homicide and Negligent Manslaughter
- Rape and Attempted Rape
- Robbery and Armed Robbery
- First Degree Assault, including Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
- Motor Vehicle Theft
- Theft, including Shoplifting, Pickpocket, Purse Snatch, and Theft of Personal Property
Both misdemeanor and felony convictions carry personal and professional consequences beyond the legal penalties associated with the offense. A criminal record can inhibit educational and employment opportunities, destroy one’s professional reputation, and prevent or revoke security clearance. A competent defense attorney should understand the nuances of each criminal charge and the possible ramifications of conviction, working carefully to protect a defendant’s right to fair and just treatment by the courts.
Howard County Criminal Defense
Effective criminal defense of both misdemeanors and felonies is dependent on the unique circumstances and details of the specific case. In the criminal justice system, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, nor are there any guarantees of a case’s end result. However, there are several common defense strategies that can help a lawyer to obtain a successful outcome. A criminal defense attorney should be willing to explore all options to determine the best course of action for his or her client.
Ellicott City, Maryland, is home to the Howard County District Court which oversees most misdemeanor criminal cases in the area. The courthouse is located at 3451 Court House Drive, only a little more than five miles from the office of Ellicott City criminal lawyer Seth Okin. It is also home to the Howard County Circuit Court, which handles most felonies and all jury trials. It is less than a mile from the District Court and located at 8360 Court Avenue. The largest unincorporated county seat in the nation, the affluent community of Ellicott City has been ranked by Money magazine as one of the “20 Best Places to Live in the United States” at least four times since 2005.
Created as a planned community and opened in the late 1960’s, Columbia, Maryland, is comprised of a series of villages surrounding The Mall in Columbia and Lake Kittamuqundi. In 2012, Columbia and Ellicott City were ranked together as #8 among Money’s 100 “Best Places to Live” in America.
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