Brief Fact Summary.
Proctor (Defendant) appealed his conviction for keeping a dwelling with intent to sell alcoholic beverages there.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A criminal offense requires an overt illegal act.
Defendant was convicted of violating Oklahoma’s law against keeping a dwelling with the intent to sell alcoholic beverages. Neither Defendant nor Oklahoma alleged that he actually sold alcohol there. Defendant was convicted and appealed.
Does a criminal offense require an overt illegal act?
(Galbraith, Spec. J.) Yes. A criminal offense requires an overt illegal act. Criminal intent alone is not enough to base a conviction on. An illegal act must accompany that criminal intent. All Defendant did was to “keep a place” where no actual illegal activity occurred. This is not a crime. The statute is invalidated and the conviction vacated.
An act must be performed for a crime to be committed. Criminal law is meant to influence conduct, not intent.