Detention vs Arrest: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Legal Status: Detention is temporary holding for questioning, while arrest involves taking someone into custody for alleged criminal activity.
  2. Duration and Constraints: Detention is shorter and allows for investigation, while arrest can lead to longer custody and formal legal proceedings.
  3. Rights and Implications: Detained individuals have rights, but arrest carries greater legal consequences and initiates formal criminal proceedings.

What is Detention?

Detention is defined as the time when the police hold a person or an individual for a while. This is done for a short period where the authorities investigate the reason for suspicion over the person in a crime. It is quite a common practice used by higher authorities or agencies over the globe to investigate and collect information.

In the detention period, the individual is primarily questioned about the whereabouts so that they find a lead. At the same time, there is a limited restriction on the activities and movement of the individual.

It can be happened without any official warrant and is merely based on suspicion of wrongdoing and further investigation. And also, it may not lead to permanent criminal charges on a person or an individual.

What is Arrest?

An arrest is when a person is held by the police in custody by law enforcement in a formal way. As it is a legal process, therefore it always requires a legal warrant or a possible reason against the person to be held in custody.

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After the person is arrested, the authorities send the person or the individual to jail or in detention until they are brought before the court. Talking about the U.S., the person must know their Miranda rights so that they remain silent and may have the right to an attorney. In the case of Arrest, a person may have a permanent criminal record.

Difference Between Detention and Arrest

  1. Detention is defined as the time when the police hold a person for a while. On the other hand, Arrest is defined as when a person is held by the police in custody by law enforcement.
  2. The reason for action in the case of detention is the suspiciousness of an individual to indulge in a crime or wrongdoing. In contrast, the reason for the action in the case of Arrest is the evidence against an individual indulging in a crime.
  3. The duration of detention might be short-term, but on the other hand, the period of Arrest is long-term. 
  4. For detention, there is no need for any warrant, but comparatively, on the other hand, in the case of Arrest, a legal warrant must require.
  5. Detention does not lead to any permanent criminal record of an individual. On the other hand, Arrest may lead to a permanent criminal record for an individual. 
  6. When an individual is in detention, there are limited restrictions on the activities and movements. At the same time, when a person is arrested, there are extensive restrictions on the activities and movement.
  7. During detention, every person has a right to know the reason behind the action in the case. Similarly, during Arrest, a person should read their Miranda Rights and must be informed of the charges.
  8. In detention, the use of force is minimal, whereas, on the other hand, in an arrest, the use of force might be extensive in some cases to capture the individual.
  9. In detention, the individual may release without any charges, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, in an arrest, the individual may require bail or court orders for their release. 
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Comparison Between Detention and Arrest

Parameter of ComparisonDetentionArrest
DefinitionWhen the police hold a person for a whileWhen a person is held by the police in custody by law enforcement
Reason for ActionSuspicionProbable cause or evidence
DurationShort-termLong-term
Legal ProcessNo warrant requiredWarrant required
ConsequencesDo not lead to a permanent criminal recordIt may lead to a criminal record
RestrictionsLimitedExtensive
Rights of PersonThe reason must be provided in this caseShould read their Miranda Rights and must be informed of the charges
Use of ForceRequired minimal forceIt may require force to catch the person
ReleaseWithout charges or actionThrough bail or court orders
References
  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/african-issues/article/abs/abuse-of-executive-prerogative-a-purposive-difference-between-detention-in-black-africa-and-detention-in-white-racist-africa/87023093DFB48CC17ABA8A19B41AA63C
  2. https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/nylr39&div=46&g_sent=1&casa_token=

Last Updated : 03 August, 2023

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