A Nevada criminal background check is when an employer, landlord, or other company screens an applicant's criminal history. Criminal background checks show past convictions and pending charges.
Criminal background checks are legal in Nevada. But there are restrictions:
- Nevada's "ban the box" law prohibits government employers from asking about criminal history on the initial application;
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires certain employers to get applicants' consent to run background checks; and
- State and federal anti-discrimination laws make employers vulnerable to legal action if their blanket disqualification of people with criminal records ends up discriminating against black and brown applicants.
Some Nevada criminal records are sealable. This means they will not show up in future criminal background checks (with some exceptions).
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is a criminal background check in Nevada?
- 2. What information shows up?
- 3. What sources do criminal background checks pull from?
- 4. Are criminal background checks legal in Nevada?
- 4.1. Nevada's ban the box law
- 4.2. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- 4.3. Anti-discrimination laws
- 5. Do sealed records show up on background checks?
- 6. Do pardoned convictions show up on background checks?
- 7. What if my criminal record is inaccurate?
- 8. What if I was discriminated against because of my criminal record?
Also see our article about disclosing criminal history on Nevada job applications.
It is an investigation of someone's criminal history. People applying for jobs, housing, or licenses may have to get background checks.
The people or companies requesting a background check may perform it themselves. Or they can rely on third-party reporting agencies. Examples include:
Criminal background checks reveal the following:
- Past felony convictions that have not been sealed
- Past gross misdemeanor convictions that have not been sealed
- Past misdemeanor convictions that have not been sealed
- Pending arrests
- Whether the person is currently on parole or probation
Nevada law used to limit criminal background checks to the last seven years. But now, even convictions from the distant past show up on these checks.1
Criminal background checks in Nevada do not include:
- Arrests that did not lead to a conviction (unless they are pending)
- Sealed records (in most situations)
Criminal background checks compile information from various sources. Some may include:
- Police records
- Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History
- Sex offender registries (including the Nevada Sex Offender Registry)
Yes, as long as employers abide by the following rules:
- Nevada's "ban the box" law (just for state and local jobs),
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and
- Anti-discrimination laws
"Ban the box" refers to the checkbox on employment applications that ask if the candidate has a criminal record. As of 2018, state and local government employers in Nevada may not ask about criminal history on an initial job application. The only exception is for:
- Peace officers;
- Firefighters; or
- Any position that has access to:
Job applications must say that criminal records are not necessarily disqualifying. And employers must consider the following five factors if the applicant does have a record:
- How much time has passed since the conviction;
- How old the applicant was at the time of the offense;
- The severity and nature of the offense;
- How the crime relates to the job; and
- Evidence that the applicant has been rehabilitated
Government employers can consider criminal histories when making hiring decisions only after:
- The final interview; or
- A conditional job offer was made; or
- The applicant has been certified by the agency administrator
Government employers may take into account past convictions and pending criminal charges (filed in the last six months). They may not consider the following background information:
- Misdemeanors that did not result in jail time
- Arrests that did not lead to a conviction;
- Cases that were dismissed;
- Cases that were sealed
Government employers who rescind an offer based on criminal history must allow the applicant to:
- Explain the circumstances of the conviction; and/or
- Challenge the criminal record2
The "ban the box" law helps give ex-offenders a more even playing field to find work in the public sector.
FCRA is a federal law. It applies to all employers who hire a third party to run a background check. FRCA requires these employers to:
- Obtain applicants' written consent before conducting a criminal background check; and
- Notifying applicants if their criminal record is the reason they were not hired
Remember, employers who run in-house background checks are not bound by FCRA.3
Both federal and Nevada state laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race and color.4 Due to unfair police practices and economic policies, African Americans and Latinos have higher arrest and conviction rates.5 Therefore, employers who automatically pass over people with criminal records may be indirectly discriminating on the basis of race and color.
Therefore, employers are encouraged to think twice before denying employment to every applicant with a criminal record. Depending on the situation, applicants may have a viable case of employment discrimination.
In most cases, no. But the following agencies may view criminal records:
- The Nevada Gaming Control Board
- The Nevada Gaming Commission
- The Division of Insurance of the Department of Business and Industry6
Everyone is advised to get their records sealed if possible. In Nevada, dismissed cases are sealable right away. And most misdemeanors are sealable after one year.7
However, the sealing process takes several months. Learn how to seal criminal records in Nevada.
(Nevada does not have record "expungements." But sealing and expunging are very similar.)
Yes. In Nevada, a governor's pardon is an official forgiveness of a crime.8 But it does not erase the crime from the person's criminal record. Only record sealing can do that.
The primary purpose of pardons is to restore civil rights and possibly the right to possess firearms.
First, consult with an attorney. In most cases, people can submit a correction request to:
Department of Public Safety
Records, Communications and Compliance Division
333 West Nye Lane, Suite 100
Carson City, NV 89706
The Compliance staff will then research the matter. If they correct the mistake, they will notify the FBI.
Consult with an experienced attorney right away. There are various options to explore.
Job applicants may file a claim with the:
NERC or EEOC may be able to mediate or settle the claim. Otherwise, applicants can file a lawsuit against the employer. Applicants may be eligible for money damages.
For additional help...
Have you been arrested? Or do you need a record seal? Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys can help.
Call us 24/7 at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Or fill out the form on this page. We offer free consultations.
Also see our article about background checks to purchase firearms in Nevada.
In California? Learn about California background checks.
In Colorado? Learn about deferred sentences and Colorado background checks.