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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The rate of detentions in the STP area was higher than the England rate of 88.2 per 100,000 people at 103.7 per 100,000 people.
'After all, preventive detention cannot be used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody without trial,' Justice Rabstan observed, while quashing PSA detention of Mushtaq-ul-Islam.
The 4th PSA detention of Ghulam Nabi Gojri, a resident of Qadeem Pora in Sopore, was recently quashed by the High Court, but he has been slapped with yet another PSA - all this within a span of two months.
Yousif, also known as Hassan Salamah, 60, was detained after Israeli forces raided his house in Beituniya on October 20, 2015 three months after being released from a previous year-long administrative detention amidst accusations of "incitement" against Israel, Ma'an reported.
On July 1 st , more than 60 Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli prisons started boycotting Israel's military courts in a protest of this administrative detention policy as well as the fake trials they go through, writes the Alternative Information Centre (AIC).
For the first time in a long time, immigration detention is getting the scrutiny it deserves.
In June 2014, in response to an influx of Central Americans arriving at the United States border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) repurposed a high-security federal training center in the remote desert town of Artesia, New Mexico to serve as a temporary immigration detention facility.
In June, 2004, the Supreme Court handed down a series of opinions related to wartime detention authority.
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.
In these situations, consular officers, if notified of the detention, can provide their citizens with vital support, such as "attempting to ensure that they receive a fair and speedy trial with benefit of counsel; visiting them in prison to ensure that they are receiving humane treatment; and facilitating communications with their families." (2)
The second ground for impeachment is Bush's illegal detentions, in the United States and abroad.
My host on these visits was an inmate named Mark Joseph, a 30-year-old Haitian-American man who had shuttled through jail and detention prisons for 11 years.