In criminal law
, an Overt act
(from French ouvert
,open,adj.), an open act, one that can be clearly proved by evidence, and from which criminal intent can be inferred, as opposed to a mere intention in the mind to commit a crime. Therefore, it is an act that, while innocent per se
, can potentially be used as evidence
against someone during a trial
to show his/her participation in a crime
. For instance, a rental of a van and a purchase of a gun are overt acts as part of an assassination
. The term is more particularly employed in cases of treason
, which must be demonstrated by some overt or open act.
In criminal conspiracy cases, an overt act must frequently be proven in order to convict the defendants of the crime.