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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 ?
Meanwhile, the bench of D S Thakur quashed detention of Hurriyat leader, Assadullah Parray after hearing his counsel, Naser Qadri.
Interestingly, the different court benches that quashed the earlier three PSA detention orders passed by District Magistrate, Baramulla, against Sheikh held that it was illegal to book him on the same grounds under which he was booked earlier.
Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians.
The Middle East monitor reports that Israel has issued 571 administrative detention orders against Palestinians so far this year, out of which 126 orders were issued against prisoners detained for the first time, while the 445 orders that remained were renewals for detention of prisoners already in custody.
American immigration detention law is suffering from an existential crisis.
In June, 2004, the Supreme Court handed down a series of opinions related to wartime detention authority.
The school texted parents during the Easter break saying that children would receive a detention if they failed to bring: ?
The call came as the United States military is hosting the media and some nongovernmental organizations today at its recently constructed but empty detention facility in the central Parwan province.
Article 36 of the Vienna Convention generally requires that law enforcement officials inform arrested or detained foreign nationals, without delay, of their entitlement to have their consulate notified of the detention.
It also "grossly violated basic separation of powers principles by denying the judiciary any opportunity to review thousands of detentions," the center writes in its book on impeachment.
Mark's story seemed to me significant because he stood at the intersection of several different enforcement trends that were converging in detention prisons.
Bush, involved a group of prisoners purportedly captured fighting for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and held in a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.