I was playing Skyrim and going on a rampage for fun. I was watching my bounty go up and go down and that sparked the question of how do bounties work? If you kill someone and someone sees you, how long does it take for the bounty to be permanent (Saying if you kill them and your bounty goes away) and how come when you kill someone when going on a rampage or having a high bounty, your bounty only decreases by 40 even when everyone is killed? Can someone tell me how bounties work?
Bounty is separated by hold. I.e. in Whiterun you'll have a different bounty counter than in Markath.
Killing all witnesses of the crimes nullifies the bounty.
Either or both of those are responsible for your up and down bounty numbers.
Apart from that, you can only pay off the bonuty, go to jail, resist arrest and use your title (Thane) to nullify lesser crimes.