A Nevada background check is when an employer, landlord, licensing agency, or other company screens your criminal and consumer history. Background checks may show
- past convictions and pending charges,
- credit history, and
- employment records.
Many companies run background checks on job applicants. And they can be a major factor in hiring decisions.
Background checks are legal in Nevada. But with certain limitations:
- 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 your 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 will answer the following 8 key questions:
- 1. What is a background check in Nevada?
- 2. What information shows up?
- 3. What sources do background checks pull from?
- 4. Are background checks legal in Nevada?
- 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?
- Additional resources
Also see our article about disclosing criminal history on Nevada job applications.
It is an investigation of your consumer and criminal history. If you apply for jobs, housing, or licenses, you 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:
There are two types of background checks through FCRA:
- Consumer reports, which show general credit information and criminal history.
- Investigative consumer reports, which also include reputational information.
Depending on the scope, background checks may reveal some or all of the following:
- Sex offender status
- Any state licenses
- 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 you are currently on parole or probation
- Current and past addresses, including how long you have lived there
- Credit history,
- Employment history
- Education history
- DMV driving/vehicle registration records
- Immigration records
- Social security record
- Vital records, such as marriage and divorce status
- Civil court hearings
- Insurance claim reports
- Property records, including value and collateral
- Bankruptcy records (such as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – wage earner bankruptcy)
Nevada law used to limit criminal background checks to the last seven years. Though now, even convictions from the distant past show up on these checks.1
Background checks in Nevada do not include:
- Arrests that did not lead to a conviction (unless they are pending)
- Sealed records (in most situations)
Background checks compile information from various sources. Some may include:
- Credit reports
- Workers Comp records
- Police records, including arrests and outstanding warrants
- Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History
- Sex offender registries (including the Nevada Sex Offender Registry)
- Appellate court records
- District court records (Nevada has nine judicial districts)
- County court records (Nevada has 16 counties plus Carson City)
- Municipal court records
- Nevada Department of Corrections (prison)
- County jails
- Nevada Division of Juvenile Justice
Employers may also seek out references. These may include your:
- Past colleagues
- Former bosses
- Friends or family
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 you do have a record:
- How much time has passed since the conviction;
- How old you were at the time of the offense;
- The severity and nature of the offense;
- How the crime relates to the job; and
- Evidence that you have 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
- You have 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 you 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 your written consent before conducting a criminal background check; and
- Notify you if your criminal record is the reason you 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, you may have a viable case of employment discrimination.
In most cases, no. Though 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
You are advised to get your 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 your 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.
You may file a claim with the:
NERC or EEOC may be able to mediate or settle the claim. Otherwise, you can file a lawsuit against the employer. You may be eligible for money damages.
For ways to search your own records, refer to these helpful sites:
- Clark County Courts Records Search – The official site for searching court records in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. This could help you find any public court records related to someone’s background.
- DPS Records, Communications and Compliance Division – Instructions on how to request your criminal records from the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
- FBI Identity History Summary Checks – The FBI provides identity history summary checks/background checks. You can learn about requesting them here.
- BackgroundChecks.org – A consumer reporting agency with articles/resources on disputing inaccurate background check information.
- Las Vegas Justice Court Records – The Justice Court provides access to criminal records in Las Vegas. You can search for case information here.
- Nevada Senate Bill 409 (2015). See also NRS 239 (“Nevada Open Records Act”). See, for example, Anderson v. Mandalay Corp. (2015) 131 Nev. 825; Burnett v. C.B.A. Sec. Serv. (1991 ) 107 Nev. 787.
- NRS 284.281; NRS 284.283; Nevada Assembly Bill 384 (2017).
- 15 U.S.C. § 1681.
- NRS 613.330; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Criminal Justice Fact Sheet – NAACP.
- NRS 179.301.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
- NRS 213.090.