This page contains answers to many frequently asked questions that we field on a daily basis.
How old does a child need to be to be left home alone?
Many people think there is a simple answer to this question, but there is not. State law suggests an answer in some situations, but doesn’t lay down an absolute rule. The only real answer to your question is, “it depends.”
Federal and Illinois law pretty much leave parents and guardians free to care for their children as they see fit. In certain situations, though, our criminal and child welfare laws permit the state to intervene. But even those laws leave the police and DCFS (the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) a lot of leeway in deciding what to do.
Two criminal laws specifically deal with unattended kids. One says that leaving a child “6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes” may be child endangerment. “Unattended” means not accompanied by someone at least 14 years old, or out of that person’s sight. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
There is also a DCFS rule that says that licensed day care providers can’t leave children under 18 in vehicles unattended.
The Illinois Criminal Code also makes “child abandonment” a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. It’s child abandonment, the law says, to knowingly leave a child:
- age 10-13 alone for 24 hours or more
- age 7-10 alone for 8 hours or more
- age 0-7 alone for 2 hours or more
- under age 18 with physical or mental special needs alone for 2 hours or more
The law lists 20 factors to consider, like the child’s age and special needs, whether they were left entirely alone, whether they had an emergency number to call, and whether the parent or guardian informed another person that the child will be alone.
This criminal law of child abandonment is similar to—but not exactly like—state child welfare laws that define child neglect. Under the Juvenile Court Act, it’s child neglect to leave a minor under 14 years of age “without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor.” Many of the factors from the Criminal Code are supposed to be taken into consideration when deciding whether a child is really neglected.
Although these laws say nothing about older kids, it doesn’t mean nothing will happen if you leave minors 14 years old—or older—by themselves. The longer they’re alone, and the more alone they’re left, the more likely it is that somebody will intervene.
What is curfew in Joliet?
Curfew is covered under Section 21-18 of the Joliet Code of Ordinances. It reads:
(a) No person who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age shall be present at or upon any public assembly, building, place, street, or highway between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following day unless accompanied and supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible companion at least eighteen (18) years of age and who is approved by a parent or legal guardian.
(b) No person who is fifteen (15) years of age or younger shall be present at or upon any public assembly, building, place, street, or highway between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following day unless accompanied and supervised by a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible companion at least eighteen (18) years of age and who is approved by a parent or legal guardian.
There are exceptions to this ordinance to cover for travel to and from work, and also emergency situations. Please read the entire ordinance on the City of Joliet’s Municode website.
Where can I pay my parking ticket/compliance ticket?
You can pay your parking ticket/compliance ticket in person or by mail at Joliet City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL 60432.
Where do I get an Order of Protection?
You must file for an Order of Protection in the county where you reside. Be sure to bring any history of documentation or police reports regarding past incidents of domestic violence or harassment.
In Will County, Orders of Protection are obtained at the Will County Courthouse on the first floor. Application forms are available at the courthouse or online at www.willcountycircuitcourt.com.
In Kendall County, Orders of Protection are obtained at the Kendall County Courthouse Monday through Friday during normal court hours. Details are available at www.co.kendall.il.us/circuit-clerk/domestic-violence-order-of-protection/.
How do I get a copy of my incident report?
You must file through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of your report.
How do I file a FOIA request?
Visit our FOIA Request Center to file a request online.
How do I get a copy of my crash report?
If you were involved in the crash, there are two ways to obtain a copy of the Driver Exchange Form which has the vehicle and contact information of all parties involved:
- Present a valid photo identification at the Joliet Police Department’s front desk and we will provide you with a copy of the Driver’s Exchange at no cost.
- Visit the LexisNexis eCrash website.
Full copies of the report which include a diagram and narrative are available at our front desk for a $5 fee (exact change or credit/debit with matching government-issued photo ID), or online at LexisNexis eCrash.
How can my insurance company get a copy of my crash report?
Insurance companies can request copies of crash reports from the BuyCrash website. There is a charge for this service.
How do I get my stolen/recovered property returned?
You need a letter from the State’s Attorney’s Office or a court order stating that the property may be returned to you.
How do I get fingerprinted for my job or to review my criminal history?
Obtain a fingerprint card from the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification. Bring the print card, a valid photo identification and the exact cash fee to the Joliet Police Department’s front desk.
- $5 for City of Joliet residents
- $15 for Will County residents outside of Joliet city limits
- $20 for all others (outside of Will County)
Appointments are NOT made for fingerprinting. However, we recommend you call ahead at (815) 724-3100 to check availability.
Fingerprinting is done as Evidence Technicians are available.
I filed a report. Now what?
If you filed a report for domestic battery, obtain a copy of your report from the Joliet Police Department’s front desk, then go to the Will County Courthouse if you want to file for an Order of Protection.
For all other incident reports, you can obtain a copy of your report at the Joliet Police Department’s front desk. Please allow one week for the detective assigned to your case to contact you. Note that not all cases require or warrant follow-up by the Investigations Division.
I filed a report on a hit-and-run crash. What should I do now?
Verify your contact information (address/phone number) is correct on the report. Any corrections can be made through the Joliet Police Department’s front desk. Any investigation into a hit-and-run crash will take a minimum of two weeks. Investigation into a hit-and-run crash can only be done when there is sufficient information to follow up (such as license plate numbers, witnesses, etc.). In the meantime, contact your insurance company. If further information is needed, the investigating officer will contact you. Once the investigation has been closed, the investigating officer will contact you.
My vehicle was towed. How do I get it released?
The Joliet Police Department will issue a vehicle release for a towed vehicle only to the registered owner.
If your vehicle has been towed, the following MUST be presented to the clerk and MUST be valid to receive a release:
- Valid driver’s license
- Valid proof of insurance
- Valid proof of ownership (title or registration)
- Administrative fee (if applicable)
If the registered owner is unable to obtain a release in person or does not have a valid driver’s license, a letter granting the Joliet Police Department permission to release the vehicle to someone other than the registered owner must be presented. This letter must be signed by both the owner and his designee and MUST be notarized. The designee must possess a valid driver’s license and present the above listed items, in addition to the notarized letter, in order to receive a vehicle release.
If your vehicle was towed for any of the following reasons, there is an administrative fee of $500 and is payable in cash only:
- Driving while license suspended or revoked
- Possession of cannabis
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Unlawful use of a weapon
- Soliciting for a prostitute
- Fleeing/eluding police
- Reckless driving
- Street racing
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Illegal transportation of alcohol
- Driving with suspended registration
If your vehicle was towed for any of the following reasons, there is an administrative fee of $100 and is payable in cash only:
- Illegal sound amplification
- Excessive muffler noise
- Unlawfully tinted windows
If your vehicle was towed for a violation other than listed above, there may be an administrative fee; inquire at the Joliet Police Department front desk.
I’m the victim of identity theft. What do I do?
- Contact your bank.
- Collect as much information as possible, including types of transactions, descriptions of suspects, account information, etc.
- File a police report.
- Bring any printouts and paperwork with you when you file the report.
- Contact the three credit bureaus to check your credit report and explore your options as to flagging, freezing, or correcting your report.
- Contact your credit card companies.
- If a detective is assigned to your case, he/she will contact you.
More information regarding identity theft is available at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
I have a tip about a crime but don’t want to give my name.
Submit anonymous tips to Will County Crime Stoppers:
By phone: (800) 323-6734
By text: Text “WILLCOCS” and your tip to 274637
If your information leads to the arrest of a criminal, you could earn up to $5,000 in cash rewards.
Somebody came to my door soliciting a product/service. Can they do this?
City ordinance requires that door-to-door salespeople have a solicitor’s permit. The two exceptions are churches and newspapers.
Salespeople are required to have the permit on them at all times while going door-to-door. They are required to show the permit to you upon request. The permit should contain their name, the company they work for, and a description of the person. The permit should also show an expiration date.
If you have any doubts or the person does not have a permit, you can contact the Joliet Police Department to have a squad dispatched to verify the person is in compliance.