Howard B. Dutton, 53, an attorney and businessman in the Washington area, died Thursday at Suburban Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Potomac.

Mr. Dutton was born in Washington and graduated from Eastern High School. He served in the Atlantic theater with the U.S. Navy in World War II.

After the war, he earned a degree in political science from Gettysburg College and graduated from Cornell University Law School in 1952.

He worked in the office of the general counsel of the Navy Department, then transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he was a legal adviser in the office of manned space flight in 1961-62.

From there he became assistant corporate director of North American Aviation in Los Angeles and was division counsel of Litton Industries in Los Angeles and New York and then vice president and legal counsel of Airtronics, Inc. in New York and here.

Mr. Dutton returned to a legal practice here in 1970. He also raised horses and livestock at his farm in Potomac. He rode with the Potomac Hunt.

He is survived by his wife, Judy, of Potomac; five children, Robert, Heather, Paul, Holly and Kim, all of Potomac; his mother, Harriett Dutton of Potomac and Washington, and a sister, Ruth Weber of Washington. d