Joseph E. Houchin

    Of Counsel • Chair of White-Collar Defense and Government Investigations
    Office: Raleigh
    Admissions: North Carolina, Virginia


    Joe is Of Counsel in the firm’s Raleigh office, where he represents clients under investigation or charged with criminal offenses in state and federal court. He has achieved favorable results for clients facing a variety of white-collar crimes including healthcare fraud, government/military procurement fraud, tax fraud, embezzlement, computer trespass, and other types of alleged corporate malfeasance. Joe has helped clients avoid criminal charges altogether by successfully navigating government and law enforcement investigations including with the FBI, the IRS, the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the NC Medicaid Fraud Investigations Unit, and the NC State Board of Elections.  With vast experience handling criminal cases, Joe also represents professionals and executives with select sensitive matters.

    Joe also maintains a business law and regulatory compliance practice representing the needs of North Carolina employers and entrepreneurs. Along with general representation of small businesses, he focuses on working with clients in the heavily regulated hemp/CBD and sweepstakes/skill-based games industries to ensure compliance and avoid agency enforcement action, civil liability, and criminal charges. Additionally, Joe has represented more than 150 businesses before the NC Industrial Commission facing civil penalties and contempt actions for workers’ compensation noncompliance.

    Joe has represented employers for administrative appeals before a variety of government agencies and professional licensing boards including the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, and the North Carolina Code Qualifications Board. He gratefully serves by appointment as a member of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission and the NC State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Commission.

    Representative Matters

    • Tried cases in state and federal courts representing clients charged with a variety of criminal offenses. Case results have included not guilty verdicts and dismissals based on constitutional defenses, insufficiency of government evidence, or law enforcement error
    • Represented military personnel under investigation for government contract and procurement fraud. Case resulted in termination of investigation without criminal charges
    • Represented tax professional facing criminal investigation by the IRS. Case was ultimately closed following completion of the investigation without criminal charges ever being filed
    • Represented numerous home health care businesses, executives, and employees under investigation or charged with Medicare/Medicaid fraud in both state and federal court
    • Representation of individuals under investigation by the NC Board of Elections for election fraud and campaign finance violations
    • Defended corporate executives charged by their employer with computer trespass and computer fraud
    • Discreet and sensitive representation of corporate professionals under investigation by law enforcement agencies. Past success includes representation of client falsely accused of serious sexual misconduct, resulting in termination of investigation without charges being filed
    • Representation of hemp/CBD which specific counsel on issues related permit applications, Controlled Substance Act compliance, FDA compliance and enforcement action, USDA rule updates, asset seizure, and prosecution efforts by regulatory agencies and law enforcement
    • Representation of businesses penalized or facing contempt action by the NC Industrial Commission for workers’ compensation noncompliance. Collectively saved clients in excess of one million dollars sought by the state in penalties
    • Represented government contractor under investigation by DCIS for procurement fraud. Case favorably resolved by corporate plea agreement without criminal charges against company owner individually

    Recognition & Honors

    • North Carolina State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Commission
    • Business North Carolina; Legal Elite, 2022, 2024
    • North Carolina Rising Stars; 2018-2024
    • E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders, John Locke Foundation
    • John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, runner-up
    • Daniel Coker Horton & Bell Appellate Advocacy Competition, winner
    • Blackstone Fellow, Alliance Defending Freedom
    • University of Mississippi Moot Court Board, Chairman
    • National Moot Court Team Member
    • North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission; Member


    • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Wake County Bar Association
    • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
    • American Bar Association; Criminal Justice and Antitrust Sections

    Court Admissions

    • US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
    • US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
    • US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
    • US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
    • Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals


    • George Mason University; B.A., 2008
    • University of Mississippi School of Law; J.D., 2011

    Press & Publications