In This Article


New Mexico Background Checks: An Employer’s Guide for 2023

Finding the right employees is one of the keys to success for businesses in New Mexico. When you have a good recruitment, screening and hiring process, you can staff your company with team members who can help your business to grow while protecting your business’s reputation.

A crucial part of any good hiring process for businesses is conducting a thorough New Mexico pre-employment background check for each prospective employee. Incorporating a comprehensive pre-employment screening process can help your business to find the right people while minimizing potential liabilities for negligent hiring.

New Mexico employment background checks are not all equal. If you use the wrong methods to screen applicants, your business could be at risk. Working with a reputable background check provider like iprospectcheck can help your business to ensure that you comply with all relevant state and federal laws and that the information you receive is accurate and comprehensive.

At iprospectcheck, our professionals conduct thousands of comprehensive pre-employment background checks for businesses across New Mexico, including in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, and other cities. We have extensive knowledge and experience, allowing us to complete searches for employers that are complete and accurate.

To help New Mexico businesses, we have written this complete guide to background checks in New Mexico so that you can have a succinct overview of the various requirements and components of New Mexico pre-employment background checks.

Let’s get started.

New Mexico Employment Background Check Laws: A Complete Overview

New Mexico employers must comply with all of the applicable pre-employment background check laws, including local, state, and federal statutes and regulations.

Keeping up with the laws is important since changes are frequently made through legislative action or court decisions. One of the things that iprospectcheck does is to monitor any changes that happen so that we can ensure continuing legal compliance in the reports that we provide.

Here is some information about some of the relevant laws of which you should be aware.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Employment background checks are addressed under a few different federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The FCRA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC. These two federal agencies also promulgate regulations under these laws that businesses and consumer reporting agencies are expected to follow.


The U.S. Congress enacted the FCRA in 1970. The primary focus of this law is to protect consumer information and privacy for the data collected and held by consumer reporting agencies. As a federal law, it also applies to background check companies or consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and employers in every state, including New Mexico.

One of the requirements of the FCRA for employers is that they must ask for the consent of applicants and employees before they complete background checks. The lengths of time during which different types of information can be reported are also defined by the FCRA.

Title VII

Since its passage in 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has had a major impact on workplaces across the U.S. This landmark legislation prohibits discrimination in the workplace when it is based on employees’ or applicants’ protected characteristics.

The EEOC, which enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII, issued guidance in 2012 concerning the use of criminal history information in employment background checks. Employers that discover criminal record information in the employment background checks that they receive for applicants and employees are recommended to initially assess the reported information for its relevance to the open positions.

The EEOC also advises employers to give applicants and employees who have criminal records an opportunity to explain why their convictions or arrests are not relevant for the positions they are seeking or that they hold.

New Mexico State laws on Employment Background Checks

Several state laws apply to New Mexico pre-employment background checks and the information that can be provided to employers by CRAs. As a New Mexico employer, it is important for you to understand these laws and what they require.

Under N.M. Stat. § 56-3-6, credit bureaus may only report criminal convictions for seven years from the date of conviction or release from parole. Arrests and pending cases can only be reported while they are pending. If they do not result in a conviction, they cannot be reported. Convictions for which a pardon has been granted are not reportable. For most credit-related information, the general time limit for reporting in New Mexico is seven years or the relevant statute of limitations.

Whenever a credit bureau is required to provide a notice to consumers of their rights under the FCRA, they are required under N.M. Stat. § 56-3A-4 to include a notice of their consumer rights to request a security freeze or a declaration of removal.

Two New Mexico statutes function as “ban-the-box” laws in New Mexico. Under N.M. Stat. § 28-2-3, public employers in New Mexico may not ask for criminal history information during the initial application stages.

They can only take convictions into consideration after the applicants become finalists for the positions. In 2019, New Mexico passed a ban-the-box law for private employers, which is codified at N.M. Stat. § 28-2-3.1. This law prohibits employers from asking about convictions on their initial applications. However, they can take convictions into account when the applicants become finalists for the positions.

Finally, New Mexico employers are prohibited from asking for applicants to give them passwords so that they can access the applicants’ social media accounts under N.M. Stat. § 50-4-34. They also cannot ask applicants to grant them access to their social media profiles in any way.

What Shows Up on a New Mexico Background Check?

In New Mexico, most employers ask for information about their applicants’ criminal histories, verifications of past employment, and verification of the education and credentials that they have claimed on their resumes and applications.

Depending on the type of position that is advertised, some employers also ask for additional information about applicants’ credit history or driving records.

Criminal Records

If an applicant has a criminal history, you might see several pieces of information on a New Mexico pre-employment background check.

The types of information that might appear on the background check include information about the charge, the case’s filing date, the disposition date, the disposition of the case, the offense level, and some sentencing information.

Verification of Past Employment

An employment verification on a pre-employment background check lets you check the employment history and positions held that an applicant has reported against the actual employment dates and jobs that the applicant has held.

This type of information is useful to ensure that you hire trustworthy employees and can also help to prevent negligent hiring claims.

Education Verifications

If you need to find employees who hold certain degrees or credentials, requesting an education verification can help you to make sure that you find people who are qualified for their positions.

This type of background information can also help you to make sure that your employees are honest and can protect you against potential liability claims.

Credit Checks

Businesses in the financial services sector  and jobs with financially sensitive positions may require credit checks. These are available as an added option through iprospectcheck.

Driving Records

If driving is a part of your employees’ jobs, you can request motor vehicle record information. This can help you to ensure that the employees you hire are safe and responsible drivers.

New Mexico Nursing Background Checks

Because of the licensing requirements and the need to protect the vulnerable population, the jobs of healthcare workers, nursing background checks are much more extensive than routine pre-employment background checks.

These checks may also include national criminal checks, county criminal checks, identity verification, national sex offender registry checks, healthcare sanctions check and monitoring, lab-based drug screening checks, nursing license verification, and more.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in New Mexico?

CRAs are required to comply with the FCRA and state law when they respond to requests for New Mexico pre-employment background checks.

Under these laws, information from more than seven years ago is not reportable. In New Mexico, information about arrests that do not result in convictions is also not reportable.

Under the FCRA, the seven-year limits do not apply to positions for which employees will earn salaries of $75,000 or more. While time limits apply to criminal history and credit information, they do not apply to information about an applicant’s employment, education, or credentials.

How to Get a Background Check in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety is the state agency that holds criminal record information in the state. To get a background check, you will need to submit a signed authorization and $15 to the state.

However, this background report will not include all the information that you need. It will only include information about whether an applicant has a criminal history in New Mexico. It will not contain information about an applicant’s education, credentials, credit, criminal records outside of New Mexico, or employment history.

Some employers try to search through local court records in the places where job applicants have lived. However, this approach is also limited in the information you can find. The best alternative is to rely on a background check provider with a great reputation such as iprospectcheck.

You can choose the types of reports that you need instead of receiving reports about unnecessary information, and the reports that we provide are accurate and comprehensive.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in New Mexico?

A background check from the New Mexico State Police will cost $15. However, it will not provide any information beyond arrest and conviction data.

If you complete a Google search, you might discover vendors who claim to offer free background checks. You should avoid relying on these types of sources because their information is often inaccurate and may not comply with the FCRA and state laws. Trying to search through records on your own through the county courts is expensive because of the number of labor hours it requires.

When you work with a New Mexico background check provider like iprospectcheck, you will find that it is an affordable method for obtaining the information about job applicants that you need to make sound hiring decisions. We use the latest methods to quickly secure comprehensive and reliable results for employers across New Mexico.

The cost of a background report will vary with the complexity of the scope of work requested. You can view our background check packages for pricing information.

How Long Does a Background Check Take in New Mexico?

The amount of time that it might take for you to receive your background check reports will depend on how you complete your searches. If you request a check from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, they report that it will take from seven to 15 days to process after they receive your request.

Digging through court records can take a long time and provide you with limited information. If you work with iprospectcheck, you can receive your results quickly. We can return different types of pre-employment background reports within a few hours or several days, depending on the types of information that you request.

iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant New Mexico Background Checks

By conducting comprehensive New Mexico background checks for all your applicants, you can help to maintain a safer and better-functioning workplace.

When you partner with iprospectcheck, you can be confident that the reports that you receive will be current and accurate. We have a team of USA-based, professionally-trained employees who understand the requirements and the steps required to conduct compliant background checks.

To learn more and to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation, contact iprospectcheck today.

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.