An offence committed by unlawfully and violently taking or keeping possession of lands and tenements, with menaces, force and arms, and without the authority of law.

The proceedings in cases of forcible entry or detainer are regulated by statute in the several states. The offence is generally punished by indictment. A forcible entry and a forcible detainer are distinct offences.

The civil law punished even the owner of an estate, in proportion to the violence used, when he forcibly took possession of it.