Overt Act

Overt Act

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.

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