Duvalier was removed from his hotel by security forces and taken to a court, where his lawyer said he was charged with corruption and embezzlement, The New York Times reported.
Duvalier was released following several hours of questioning. The court has 30 days to determine whether to prosecute him, CNN reported.
Human-rights groups in Haiti and the United States had demanded Duvalier be arrested since his return to the Caribbean island nation from France Sunday, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.
A Haitian journalist and former U.N. employee said she plans to file a criminal complaint against the former dictator.
Michele Montas, a former spokeswoman for the U.N. secretary-general, told CNN there are enough witnesses and sufficient proof to back a formal complaint.
"Duvalier's return to Haiti should be for one purpose only; to face justice," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch.
Since arriving in Haiti, Duvalier has been staying at a hotel, receiving visits from the secret police that once terrorized the country, the Herald said.
Duvalier went into exile in France after his government was toppled in a popular rebellion in 1986. He and his family are alleged to have enriched themselves out of the Haitian treasury during his time in office.
The return of the former dictator coincides with an ongoing political crisis in Haiti sparked by fraud allegations stemming from a presidential election.