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The act of keeping back, restraining, or withholding, either accidentally or by design, a person or thing.

Detention occurs whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his or her freedom to walk away, or approaches and questions an individual, or stops an individual suspected of being personally involved in criminal activity. Such a detention is not a formal arrest. Physical restraint is not an essential element of detention.

Detention is also an element of the tort of False Imprisonment.


noun arrest, captivity, circumscription, committal, commitment, confinement, constraint, control, custodia, custodianship, custody, detainment, durance vile, fetter, guardianship, immuration, immurement, imprisonment, incarceration, internment, keeping, keeping back, keeping in, keeping in custody, legal reetraint, limitation, preventive custody, prison, protective custody, quarantine, restraint, restriction, restriction on movement
Associated concepts: detention facility, detention of property, illegal detention, lawful detention, preventive detention
Foreign phrases: Furtum non est ubi initium habet detennionis per dominium rei.It is not theft where the commencement of the detention arises through the consent of the owner.
See also: apprehension, bar, bondage, captivity, check, commitment, constraint, custody, delay, durance, fetter, halt, hindrance, imprisonment, incarceration, restraint


holding a person against his will. Normally this is a tort or delict, but certain statutes authorize the police and other authorities to do this. For example, in the immigration law a person may be detained on arrival into the UK, for administrative removal or following a deportation decision. If an appeal has been lodged against a deportation order, the appellant maybe detained pending the hearing of the appeal.

DETENTION. The act of retaining a person or property, and preventing the removal of such person or property.
     2. The detention may be occasioned by accidents, as, the detention of a ship by calms, or by ice; or it may, be hostile, as the detention of persons or ships in a foreign country, by order of the government. In general, the detention of a ship does not change the nature of the contract, and therefore, sailors will be entitled to their wages during the time of the detention. 1 Bell's Com. 517, 519, 5th ed.; Mackel. Man. Sec. 210.
     3. A detention is legal when the party has a right to the property, and has come lawfully into possession. It is illegal when the taking was unlawful, as is the case of forcible entry and detainer, although the party may have a right of possession; but, in some, cases, the (retention may be lawful, although the taking may have been unlawful. 3 Penn. St. R. 20. When the taking was legal, the detention may be illegal; as, if one borrow a horse, to ride from A to B, and afterwards detain him from the owner, After demand, such detention is unlawful, and the owner may either retake his property, or have an action of replevin or detinue. 1 Chit. Pr. 135. In some cases, the detention becomes criminal although the taking was lawful, as in embezzlement.

References in periodicals archive ?
She posted $150 bond and was released from the Saline County Detention Center.
In the past one month, the High Court has quashed more than 30 PSA detentions because of lacunae in police dossiers.
The board later accepted the government's plea for extending detention of Saeed but turned the request for a similar extension in the detention of other JuD officials Prof Zafar Iqbal, Mufti Abdur Rehman Abid, Maulana Ubaidullah Obaid and Qazi Kashif Niaz.
He said the government was to produce Saeed and others before the review board for their detention under 11 EEE (I) and 11D of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
According to international law, administrative detention can be used only in the most exceptional cases, as the last means available for preventing danger that cannot be thwarted by less harmful means, according to B'Tselem -- The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
A more positive model emerges from the French chapter, which discusses the inside of a detention centre based on field-work.
Under its strict anti-immigration policy, Australia currently detains all asylum seekers arriving by boat, holding them in detention camps in Nauru and New Guinea.
50-A provides for the definition of the terms detention and arrest and clarifies that as a rule, the detention period begins at the moment of arrest.
Heeding calls from Democrats to end the practice of detaining families, Johnson said that the Department of Homeland Security is making "substantial changes" to its detention practices so that families with children are not unnecessarily kept locked up.
Detainees of the Suzak district temporary detention center staged a riot because the guard has not invited a doctor on time, human right activist Utkir Jabbarov reported.
LAHORE -- The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered immediate release of key suspect of Mumbai attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi after dismissing his detention orders.