Overt Act Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Overt Act, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Overt Act?

It refers to the act performed by someone which is a part of preparation of a crime which becomes successful after the implementation of those innocent actions. Overt is an open act carried out quite naturally as in buying the map of the area where the bombing has to be carried out. Buying a map is a natural process for any human being, but once this act had been carried out to support and prepare the terrorist in their deeds, it becomes bound by the law and is considered a crime.

History and Meaning of Overt Act

The term "overt act" originated in English common law and refers to an open or public act that is performed in preparation for the commission of a crime. The overt act is not the crime itself, but rather, it is an act that is committed in furtherance of the crime. The term is often used in criminal law to prove the intent to commit a crime or to establish a conspiracy.

Examples of Overt Act

  1. If a person buys large quantities of fertilizer and diesel fuel, this may be considered an overt act in preparation for the crime of creating a bomb.

  2. In a case of bank robbery, scoping out the bank and planning the heist may be considered overt acts.

  3. If someone is caught on surveillance camera stealing equipment from a construction site, this could be considered an overt act in preparation for the crime of theft.

Legal Terms Similar to Overt Act

  1. Conspiracy: A crime that occurs when two or more people plan to commit a crime together.

  2. Attempt: A crime that occurs when a person takes a direct step toward committing a crime but does not ultimately complete the crime.

  3. Solicitation: A crime that occurs when a person asks or encourages another person to commit a crime.