Convicted Felon Licensing in CA, AZ & NV, Background Checks, Fingerprinting and Criminal Disclosure Statements

While law is law, what makes our American way great is everyone is entitled to an opinion. Let’s be clear, I am not an attorney. However, when you break the law, did your time and paid your fine, you can find a second chance if fear and extra paperwork does not deter you…

Q:  I recently received a citation from the CSLB for doing work over $500.00 without a license.  I would like to get a license in CA, NV, and AZ but what’s stopping me is that I heard that they all run background checks now and I have a felony on my record.  It’s from many years back, but will that prevent me from getting my license in those three States?

A:  Again, we are happy to provide you with our opinion, however this in no way should be construed as legal advice.

In discussing this issue, here in California, the Contractors Board (CSLB) requires each applicant to respond to a question that concerns any criminal history and provide a detailed description of each arrest/conviction.  In addition, the CSLB requires a fingerprint background check, which is evaluated by the State Department Of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  They do not have any specific criteria concerning what type of past criminal offense would disqualify an applicant from obtaining a contractor’s license or being a license Qualifier.  While it is very unlikely an applicant will be issued a license if still on parole or probation, there actually is no regulation disallowing someone from filing an application.


While a felony charge would likely be evaluated carefully, it would depend on how long ago this took place; whether this was an isolated incident or one of several convictions; and how the applicant has documented their rehabilitation.  Each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but statistically only a small percentage of applications are ultimately denied.  In some cases, the CSLB may issue a Probationary License, again depending on the severity of the crime and information provided by the applicant and obtained from the Department Of Justice.

Nevada has a policy of requiring all applicants to complete a “Criminal Disclosure Statement Regarding Criminal Plea/Conviction” form and provide fingerprints.  Like CA, the applicant will be required to list the arresting agency, conviction date, court location, sentence, explanation of the crime and efforts towards rehabilitation.


The FBI and the Nevada Criminal History Repository will then evaluate your records and fingerprints.  Any felony will cause the application to be denied at staff level and it will then be assigned to go before the Board for final determination.

When reviewing convictions, the Nevada Board considers factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the time that has passed since the conviction and any evidence of rehabilitation.

Arizona requires that you complete a background check online and the information is automatically transferred to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC).  The ROC reviews criminal convictions to determine if the crime is substantially related to the duties, qualifications and functions of a contractor.  They also review rehabilitation efforts.  Arizona has a list, which is available on their website, of convictions that may result in the denial of a license so you may want to review that before you apply for a license.

If you would like our assistance with completing the application forms, including guidance with completing the Criminal Disclosure statements, please call us at 866-443-0657. Remember, failing to disclose criminal history can create a considerable delay in the application process.