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Columbia Criminal Lawyer
Although it is one of the newest communities in Maryland (founded in 1967), Columbia, Maryland has quickly become one of the largest communities in the state, second only to Baltimore. Depending on the organization performing the zoning, Columbia’s borders can be unclear. Some entities, like the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Census, include outlying areas like Clarksville, Simpsonville, and Atholton as part of the city.
Columbia, Maryland was founded as a community intent on eliminating the negative aspects of subdivision design in the 1960s. Creator James W. Rouse developed the community based on human values instead of engineering and economics. As such, Columbia typically has a lower crime rate when compared to other large cities and attracts many families and elderly persons to the area. As Columbia has never been incorporated, the local governance is largely provided by the Columbia Association. Ten neighborhoods make up Columbia, including areas like Town Center, Wilde Lake, River Hill, and Hickory Ridge.
Crime Rates in Columbia
Columbia, Maryland, despite having a fairly significant population of around 99,615 in 2011, has a much lower violent crime rate than both Maryland and the United States on average. While the state average for violent crimes is 5.48 crimes per 1,000 residents, the Columbia average is only about 2.42 (the national median is 4.0). Thus, a person living in Columbia has a 1 in 413 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.
Property crimes like burglary and breaking and entering are also less common in Columbia when compared to the Maryland and national medians. The 25.65 property crimes per 1,000 residents reported on average each year in Columbia suggest that Columbia is safer than Maryland (29.97) as well as the nation overall (29.4). An average of 241 violent crimes and 2,555 property crimes are reported in Columbia each year.
Common Criminal Charges
- Drug charges
- Federal crimes
- Hit and run
- Sex crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Gun crimes
- Traffic Infractions
- Reckless Driving
The courthouse that serves most Columbia, Maryland residents, the Howard County District Court, is located in Ellicott City. Located at 3451 Courthouse Drive, the Howard County District Court is open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of all legal holidays. A highly qualified Columbia lawyer is experienced working with the courthouse personnel, including Administrative Clerk Nancy E. Mueller. Ample parking is available next to the building. To get to the Howard County District Court, take Exit 15 on 695 to Ellicott City. Take Route 40 West to Route 99, followed by a left on Rogers. There are also a number of smaller courts, including appellate courts, circuit courts, and an orphans’ court.
The 2000 estimate of the population of Columbia listed 88,254 residents, despite the fact that it included large areas not included as part of the planned community most often associated with the Columbia area. Of these residents, around 66.52 percent are white, while 21.47 percent listed black as their ethnicity. The Columbia area also has a significant Asian population with 7.3 percent of the residents marking that on their census. 35.9 percent of the 34,199 households in Columbia reported children under the age of 18 living with them in 2000. Young adults ages 25 to 44 and adults aged 45 to 64 make up the vast majority of the population, 34.1 percent and 25.5 percent, respectively.
The median household and family incomes in Columbia are higher than most of Maryland. A 2007 estimate listed the median household income at $94,966 and the median family income at $107,210. Only around 3.4 percent of families and 5.4 percent of the total population live below the national poverty line. Many Columbians work in federal government jobs, largely due to the city’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. Other companies based in Columbia include Sourcefire, PetMeds, Integral Systems, and Arbitron, which all employ a number of people living in the city.
The Geography of Columbia
Columbia is one of the few planned communities in the state of Maryland, made up of ten self-contained villages. The city was first established with the stated goal of “improving the quality of residents’ lives” and was a forerunner in eliminating racial, class, and religious segregation that plagued the rest of the United States in the 1960s. Its unincorporated status makes it difficult to establish specific city limits, but most geographers consider only the areas governed under the Columbia Association as part of the actual city limits. As such, the total area of Columbia is about 32.2 square miles including about 0.80 percent water. Small, older communities like Allview, Diamondback, and Holiday Hills are sometimes also defined as being part of the total area of Columbia.
Columbia itself is located in the Piedmont area of Maryland, with an eastern edge hugging the fall line that runs through the state. The climate of Columbia is typical of central Maryland—hot, humid summers and cold winters. Columbia attracts many nature enthusiasts due to its many stands of mature trees protected by local government, especially Symphony Woods. Breaking up the valleys and rolling hills that characterize the city are three man-made lakes.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Attorney
Although crime is traditionally less of a problem in Columbia than elsewhere in the state, criminal offenses are still prosecuted vigorously by law enforcement. A Columbia lawyer can help you fight felony and misdemeanor charges filed by the state of Maryland as well as determine the best course of action for navigating the district court system. Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can put our proven track record in Maryland criminal defense to work for you.