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The act of retaining a person or property, and preventing the removal of such person or property. Arrest.

The detention may be occasioned by accidents; e.g., the detention of a ship by calms, or by ice; or it may be hostile; e.g., 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 sailors will be entitled to their wages during the time of the detention.

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 in 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. When the taking was legal, the detention may be illegal; e.g., 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 actiqn of replevin or detinue. In some cases, the detention becomes criminal although the taking was lawful, as in embezzlement.