How To Pay Bounty In Skyrim: A Complete Guide

Wanted for crimes against Skyrim and her people? Got a pesky bounty you need to clear? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about paying off bounties in Skyrim.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: You can pay off bounties by visiting the jarl’s steward in any of the major holds, or by getting arrested and serving your time in jail.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the ins and outs of bounties in Skyrim. You’ll learn what causes you to get a bounty, how much different crimes cost, the consequences of having a bounty, and the different ways to clear your name once and for all.

What Causes Bounties in Skyrim

In the vast and immersive world of Skyrim, players can find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they engage in certain actions. These actions can lead to bounties being placed on their heads, which can have serious consequences.

Understanding what causes bounties is essential for any adventurer seeking to maintain a good reputation and avoid unnecessary trouble.

Committing Crimes

One of the primary causes of bounties in Skyrim is committing crimes. This includes stealing, pickpocketing, and breaking and entering. Each hold in Skyrim has its own set of laws, and if you are caught committing a crime, a bounty will be placed on your head in that specific hold.

The severity of the crime determines the amount of the bounty, with more serious offenses resulting in higher bounties.

It’s essential to be discreet when committing crimes in Skyrim. Avoid stealing in plain sight, and if you must break into someone’s home, make sure no one is around to witness your actions. Remember, the more witnesses there are, the more likely you are to be caught and have a bounty placed on you.

Attacking Citizens

Another surefire way to earn a bounty in Skyrim is by attacking innocent citizens. Whether it’s a verbal insult or a physical altercation, harming a non-hostile NPC will result in a bounty being placed on your head.

Guards are quick to respond to violence, and they won’t hesitate to apprehend you and demand that you pay your dues.

It’s important to note that self-defense is an exception to this rule. If you are attacked first, you have the right to defend yourself without incurring a bounty. However, be cautious not to overreact or use excessive force, as this could still lead to trouble with the law.


Trespassing is another action that can lead to bounties in Skyrim. Entering someone’s property without permission can be seen as a violation of their rights and may result in a fine. It’s crucial to respect the boundaries of private property and avoid trespassing whenever possible.

Some areas, such as castles or restricted zones, have clear signs indicating that entry is prohibited. Ignoring these signs and venturing into restricted areas will almost certainly lead to a bounty being placed on your head.

Remember, paying bounties is an integral part of maintaining a good reputation and avoiding unnecessary conflicts with guards and other NPCs in Skyrim. By understanding what causes bounties, you can make informed decisions and navigate the world of Skyrim with greater ease and finesse.

Bounty Amounts for Different Crimes

When playing Skyrim, it’s important to be aware of the consequences of your actions. Committing crimes can result in bounties being placed on your head by the local authorities. The amount of your bounty will vary depending on the severity of the crime you commit.

Here’s a breakdown of the bounty amounts for different crimes:

Petty Theft

Engaging in petty theft, such as pickpocketing or stealing items from homes, will typically result in a relatively low bounty. The exact amount will depend on the value of the stolen items, but it’s usually around 40 to 50 gold.

Keep in mind that repeated offenses may lead to higher bounties and more aggressive pursuit by guards.


If you choose to engage in physical altercations with the townsfolk or guards, you can expect a higher bounty. Assaulting someone will usually result in a bounty of around 100 to 150 gold. It’s important to note that attacking an essential NPC, such as a quest giver, may have more severe consequences and can potentially hinder your progress in the game.


Committing murder is one of the most serious crimes you can commit in Skyrim. Taking someone’s life will not only result in a substantial bounty but may also have long-lasting consequences, such as being hunted down by bounty hunters or even facing imprisonment.

The bounty for murder can range from 1000 to 5000 gold, depending on the status of the victim and the location where the crime was committed.

Horse Theft

If you decide to steal someone’s horse, be prepared for the consequences. Horse theft is considered a serious offense in Skyrim, and the bounty for this crime is typically around 500 gold. Additionally, stealing a horse may also lead to a decrease in your reputation with the local inhabitants and make it harder for you to interact with them in the future.

It’s important to remember that paying off your bounty is always an option. You can visit the local jail and speak to the guard to pay your fine and clear your name. However, if you choose to resist arrest, be prepared to face the consequences, which may include more aggressive pursuit and higher bounties.

For more information on bounties and crimes in Skyrim, you can visit the official Elder Scrolls wiki at

Consequences of Bounties

When it comes to bounties in Skyrim, there are certain consequences that players need to be aware of. Whether you accidentally stole an item, attacked an innocent NPC, or committed a more serious crime, here are some of the potential repercussions you may face:

Being Attacked on Sight

One of the most immediate consequences of having a bounty is that guards and other law enforcement NPCs will attack you on sight. This means that you will have to be constantly on guard and ready to defend yourself.

It can make moving around towns and cities quite challenging, as you will need to be cautious to avoid any unnecessary confrontations.

Unable to Pay Bounty

Another consequence of having a bounty is that you may be unable to simply pay it off. In some cases, the amount of the bounty may be too high for you to afford, especially if you have committed multiple crimes.

This can be frustrating, as it means you’ll have to find alternative ways to clear your name or reduce the bounty. One option is to complete certain quests or favors for the Jarl or the Thieves Guild, which may grant you amnesty or reduce your bounty.

Losing Stolen Items

If you have a bounty for stealing, whether from a shop or an individual, there is a risk that you may lose those stolen items if you are caught. When you are arrested by guards, they will confiscate any stolen goods in your possession.

This not only means losing valuable items, but it can also impact your overall gameplay experience, as stolen items are often a key part of the game’s mechanics and quests.

It’s important to note that the consequences of bounties can vary depending on the hold or faction you are in. Some holds may have more stringent punishments, while others may be more forgiving. Additionally, the consequences may also be influenced by your standing with certain factions, such as the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood.

To learn more about the consequences of bounties in Skyrim, you can visit the official Bethesda website at They provide detailed information on the in-game mechanics and consequences of criminal activities.

How to Pay Your Bounty

Getting caught and accumulating a bounty in Skyrim is an inevitable part of the game, but fear not! There are several ways to pay off your bounty and clear your name. Whether you want to keep your reputation intact or simply avoid spending time behind bars, here are three methods you can use to pay your bounty in Skyrim.

Paying a Steward

If you have a bounty in a hold, one option is to pay it off through a steward. Stewards can be found in most Jarl’s palaces or longhouses, and they are typically responsible for managing the finances of the hold. Approach a steward and inquire about paying your bounty.

They will gladly accept your gold in exchange for wiping your slate clean.

Keep in mind that the amount you’ll need to pay will depend on the severity of your crimes. Murder and assault will generally result in a higher bounty compared to minor offenses like theft. So, make sure to have enough coin in your pocket before approaching a steward to settle your debt.

Going to Jail

If you’re low on gold or simply don’t want to part ways with your hard-earned coin, you can choose to serve time in jail instead. Each hold in Skyrim has its own prison, where you can voluntarily surrender to the guards and serve your sentence.

While spending time behind bars may not be the most glamorous option, it does come with its benefits. Serving your sentence will not only clear your bounty but also give you an opportunity to level up your pickpocketing or lockpicking skills.

Additionally, you won’t have to worry about guards attacking you on sight once you’re free.

Using the Thieves Guild

If you’re a member of the infamous Thieves Guild, you’re in luck. They offer a unique service called “Delvin’s Influence,” which allows you to pay off your bounty without losing any gold.

To take advantage of this service, simply speak to Delvin Mallory, one of the guild members. He will ask you to complete certain quests that involve stealing items from specific locations. Once you’ve successfully completed these tasks, Delvin will use his influence to clear your bounty in the corresponding hold.

It’s important to note that this method is only available to those who have joined the Thieves Guild. So, if you haven’t already, consider becoming a member to access this handy feature.

Remember, paying off your bounty is crucial if you want to maintain a good reputation and avoid confrontations with the guards. Whether you choose to pay a steward, serve time in jail, or rely on the Thieves Guild, the choice is yours. Happy bounty-paying adventures in Skyrim!

Clearing Your Name Permanently

Getting a Pardon

If you find yourself with a bounty in Skyrim, there are a few ways to clear your name permanently. One option is to seek a pardon from the Jarl or a high-ranking official in the hold where the crime was committed.

This method requires a bit of diplomacy and persuasion, as you’ll need to convince them that you are truly remorseful for your actions and deserve forgiveness. It’s important to note that not all crimes can be pardoned, especially if they are of a more serious nature, so be prepared for the possibility of facing the consequences.

Using Console Commands

For those playing Skyrim on PC, there is another option available – the use of console commands. Console commands are a powerful tool that allow players to manipulate the game world and its mechanics. If you’re comfortable using console commands, you can simply open the console, click on the character or object you wish to affect, and use the “paycrimegold” command to pay off your bounty.

This will clear your name and restore your reputation in the hold where the crime was committed. However, it’s important to use console commands responsibly, as abusing them can negatively impact your gameplay experience.

When it comes to paying off your bounty in Skyrim, it’s important to consider the consequences of your actions and the methods you choose to clear your name. Whether you opt for a diplomatic approach or utilize the power of console commands, remember that the choices you make in the game can have lasting effects on your character’s reputation and the way NPCs interact with you.

So choose wisely and enjoy your adventures in the vast world of Skyrim!


Having a bounty can make life difficult in Skyrim. But thankfully the justice system provides several methods for righting your wrongs. Now that you know all the ins and outs of bounties, you can keep your nose clean, or neatly pay off your crimes when needed.

Just remember: crime doesn’t pay in Skyrim. If you decide to break some laws, be prepared to face the consequences or make amends. Stay safe out there, and watch out for the city guards!

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