overt act

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Generally, an overt act refers to a specific and observable action or conduct that is taken by an individual, typically in furtherance of a particular purpose or intent. While the term "overt act" has different legal meanings depending on the context in which it is used, it is usually used in connection with criminal law with the implication generally being that an individual who conducts an overt act shows an intention to commit a crime.

In the context of conspiracy charges, an overt act is an action taken by one or more individuals to further the illegal agreement or plan to commit a crime. Not all jurisdictions require overt acts to prove conspiracy, but in those that do, the overt act serves as evidence of the individuals' intent to participate in the conspiracy. It is important to note that the overt act doesn't have to be the actual commission of the crime; it can be any act that demonstrates the individuals' commitment to the conspiracy's objectives.

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]