Can a sealed record in Nevada be used to deny me a state professional license?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 08, 2018 | 0 Comments

Perhaps. Most employers cannot see the sealed criminal records of job applicants. However, some state licensing boards may have access to applicants' full criminal histories -- and can deny them employment accordingly. Some of these licensing boards include:

Record sealing in Nevada

Whenever people get cited for, arrested for, or convicted of a crime in Nevada, the incident goes on their criminal record even if the matter is ultimately dismissed. If they then apply for a job, the prospective employers will see the criminal record when they run a background check.

But if a person petitions the Nevada court to seal his/her criminal record -- and the court agrees -- then the record will not show up on background checks. Therefore, prospective employers are less likely to reject the applicant for the job. However, state licensing boards rarely rely on standard background checks.

Nevada state licensing boards and criminal records

Nevada licensing applications to become a doctor, attorney, etc., all have provisions asking the applicant to reveal their criminal history. If applicants with sealed records do not reveal their criminal histories in their application, there is a good chance the state licensing board may still fight out about it:

State licensing boards do more than run a basic background check. They often run a fingerprint check through the FBI. And these types of "deep dive" background checks sometimes reveal criminal records that were technically sealed in Nevada.

Therefore, licensee applicants with sealed records are often left in a quandary: Do they own up on the application about their criminal history? Or do they remain quiet and hope that the fingerprint check does not unearth sealed records? Job applicants are advised to consult with an attorney familiar with the particular licensing board's policies to discuss their options.

Getting a professional license with a criminal record

In general, Nevada's professional licensing boards may deny applicants licenses for having poor moral character. This typically comprises having been convicted of such "crimes of moral turpitude" as:

  • fraud crimes
  • theft crimes
  • violent crimes

However, these licensing boards scrutinize applicants on a case-by-case basis. Even applicants with criminal histories may be awarded a license if the board believes the applicant has been rehabilitated. Predictably, people with misdemeanor convictions from several years ago are more likely to get a license than people with recent felony convictions.

Professionals who get a criminal record

Licensed professionals who later get arrested or convicted of a crime face discipline from their state licensing board. These licensees are usually afforded an opportunity to defend themselves at a hearing. Depending on the seriousness of the case, the board may impose various penalties, such as

  • fines
  • public reprimand
  • license suspension
  • license revocation

Learn more about disciplinary proceedings for Nevada dentists, disciplinary proceedings for Nevada doctors, disciplinary proceedings for Nevada accountants, disciplinary proceedings for Nevada attorneys, disciplinary proceedings for Nevada contractors, and disciplinary proceedings for Nevada social workers.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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