20+ Difference between Arrested And Detained (Explained)

Many non-experts in criminal law incorrectly assume that being detained is the same as being arrested. While both require contact with law enforcement, being arrested carries criminal charges, while being detained entails little more than a brief interrogation.

Your best action, whether being questioned or arrested, is to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Comparison Between Arrested And Detained

What it isWhen a person who has been suspected of committing a crime is taken into custody by the police for the purpose of investigation, that individual’s freedom is taken away as a direct consequence of this action performed by the police.Detention is the act of taking someone into official custody to question them in relation to a certain issue or crime. This may be done to detain them for a longer period of time.
RequirementsTo be able to make an arrest, one must first have a significant quantity of evidence at their disposal. This is a prerequisite for making an arrest.It is not necessary to have tangible proof to hold someone as a suspect; all that is required is a mere suspicion of wrongdoing by the investigating party. To detain someone as a suspect, it is not necessary to have solid evidence.
Ultimate outcomesIf the defendant is found guilty of the charges brought against them, they may be subject to imprisonment, a fine, or both, depending on the seriousness of the alleged crime.Arrest, but only if sufficient relevant evidence has been amassed to justify it and only if sufficient evidence has been acquired to support it. In other words, the arrest is only appropriate if sufficient evidence has been obtained to deserve it.
RecordA record of the offender’s involvement in illegal activities that are preserved as part of the offender’s criminal record as a record of their engagement in unlawful activities as part of the offender’s criminal record as a record of their engagement in illegal activitiesIt would seem that they have not violated any of the norms or criteria that have been established for them to operate under at any point in their long existence.
Time consumedIt is possible for a person to be detained in jail while they wait for the formulation of their bail conditions or the presentation of their case in front of the court, but this will depend on the circumstances of the case. It is possible for both of these procedures to take place while the subject is being held in custody.In most cases, within a span of time, that is measured in terms that are thought of as being rather brief.

Major Difference Between Arrested And Detained

What exactly is an Arrest?

The legal definition of “arrest” is “the act of restraining or apprehending a person and bringing that person into custody by legal authority,” usually in response to criminal charges.

A person’s rights are limited, and they are placed under the protection of the law when they are arrested. The act of bringing someone into custody for criminal investigation or prosecution.

Key Differences: Arrested

  • The word “arrest” refers to the act of limiting or apprehending another person and taking that person into legal custody in response to a criminal charge. 
  • This action is done in response to an arrest warrant.
  • In many circumstances, law enforcement officials are unable to effect an arrest in the absence of both strong evidence and a warrant.
  • People who are arrested will remain in jail until their bail is approved or their case is heard in court.
  • The arrest will be noted on the individual’s record, which will thereafter be included in their criminal history.

What exactly is a Detention?

Police may “detain” you if they have probable cause to believe you have committed or are about to commit a crime. You won’t face criminal charges during detention, unlike an arrest. The police may hold you and interview you if they see you behaving suspiciously.

In Wyoming, you do not need to identify yourself or provide any other personal information. You should inquire politely as to whether or not you are free to go. 

Key Differences Detained

  • When an individual is taken into official custody for an extended period of time to wait for the conclusion of further investigations.
  • The individual is referred to as being detained.
  • If sufficient evidence justifies doing so, the authorities have the right to detain suspects for the duration of the inquiry.
  • Before being brought up on any charges, a person who has been detained may only be kept in custody for a certain period of time at most.
  • The fact that a person was detained will not be noted on their official criminal record.

Contrast Between Arrested And Detention


  • Arrested- An arrest is a process of confining or apprehending another person and taking that person into legal custody. This procedure happens most often as a reaction to a criminal charge that has been brought against the person who is being arrested.

    When a person is arrested, they are deprived of their maximum rights, including the freedom to travel freely about wherever they are being held. Freedom of expression is an example of one of these freedoms.
  • Detention- Detention is the process of keeping someone in official custody for a short period of time for the purpose of further questioning or interrogation after they have already been questioned.

    This additional questioning or interrogation aims to gain more information from the detained individual. Someone’s behavior like this might result from any number of distinct forces driving them.


  • Arrested- When they have reason to believe that a person has committed a crime and sufficient evidence supports that belief, the police will make an arrest. If there is insufficient proof, there will not be an arrest made.
  • Detention- Detention is a temporary scenario in which the police retain the suspect in legal custody awaiting charges to conduct more questioning or interrogation of the suspect for the purpose of detention.

    After being required to go through their legal rights and then having those rights read to them, the authorities are eligible to communicate with and seek help from a legal counsel, and they are authorized to do so. The authorities may also request advice from legal counsel.

Ultimate outcome:

  • Arrested- If it becomes out that the person who was arrested did, in fact, commit the violation, the magistrate will decide on a suitable punishment for the offender based on the specifics of the offense by considering the nature of the violation.

    The perpetrator can have to serve time in jail, pay a fine, or be required to do all of these things, depending on the particulars of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it.
  • Detention- A case of detention occurs when the relevant pieces of evidence against the prisoner have been acquired, culminate in an arrest, or when the detainee is freed because there is no proof discovered that can be used against him or her.


  • Arrested- In most situations, law enforcement officials are not permitted to make an arrest unless they have obtained a warrant. When a person is only placed in prison after being apprehended on suspicion of committing a major crime, that person will be taken into custody.

    Arresting a person should be done to bring that individual before a legal tribunal and ensure that the administration of justice is carried out in the most effective way that is reasonably practicable.
  • Detention- If there is a basis to believe that a person has committed a crime or if there are ongoing charges against them, then that person may be kept in jail until an additional investigation can be carried out if there is a reasonable suspicion that they have done so.


  • Arrested- In the event of an arrest, the person who has been detained will most likely continue to be held in jail until either bail is set or the matter is brought before the court, depending on which of these two events takes place first. If bail is set first, then the person will likely remain in jail until the matter is brought before the court.
  • Detention- Because it is generally believed that imprisonment should only be a temporary solution, there is a limit placed on the amount of time a person may spend in jail at any moment.

    When this amount of time has elapsed, the person being investigated is either allowed to go free or is placed under arrest based on the evidence obtained up to this point.

Duration of punishment:

  • Arrested- When someone is arrested, the law compels the authorities to hold them in prison until either bail is granted or their case is presented before a court or another legal authority, whichever comes first.

    The duration of the sentence is not predetermined; rather, it is determined by a wide variety of factors, one of which is the seriousness of the allegations that have been brought against the accused.
  • Detention- On the other hand, the length of time a person spends in jail may be significantly cut down if they are detained rather than arrested and then kept in custody for a shorter period of time than they would have been had they been arrested.

    If this happens, then the amount of time someone is sentenced to serve in jail or prison may be cut down by a significant amount.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How can you tell the difference between being arrested and being detained?

A person is considered to have been placed under arrest when they are taken into legal custody or control on the basis of a criminal charge or suspicion.

You are being detained if you are being held on suspicion of committing a crime and are being kept in custody pending charges.

Q2. How long may you be detained without being charged with a crime if you are being held in custody in Canada and the USA?

In the United States, the maximum amount of time you may spend in prison before being charged with a crime is 24 hours.

This is the case in both countries. After that, they are obligated to either charge you with anything or release you if there are no future incidents.

Q3. Are the police required to explain the reason for your detention in the United States of America?

You cannot be detained by a law enforcement agent for no apparent reason, just on the basis that you give off a guilty or suspicious vibe.

They are required to have a justification for keeping you in custody. Before making an arrest, the police must first be able to provide a justification for the detention.

Q4. How long may you be held in police custody in the United States of America?

In the event that the authorities have reasonable and probable reasons to detain you and place you in protective custody, they will only be allowed to hold you for a period of twenty-four hours under these circumstances.

It is possible for it to be prolonged if it is a holiday or a weekend. If they hold you for more than twenty-four hours, they are required to either charge you with a crime or release you.

Q5. Why do prison camps exist?

However, it is crystal clear that the purpose of a detention center is to establish an environment for minors who have been convicted or who are on remand that is safe and secure but which also satisfies certain conditions.

This is the goal of a detention facility. This is the objective of a facility that provides detention services.

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