I accidentally killed a noble, now every guard wants to kill me. Is there any way I can get rid of the bounty?


9 Answers 9


There are a few ways you can remove the bounty over your head

Declare Thaneship If you are the Thane of a hold, you can declare this to the guard. This will immediately clear your bounty, but can only be done once per hold. This only applies to bounties less than 3,000 gold.

Pay your bounty If you pay your bounty, you will be immediately transported outside the nearest town jail, and all stolen items in your possession will be seized. Thieves Guild members have an additional option to pay a much lower fine, if they so choose. This additional option will allow you to keep stolen items.

Bribe guard Thieves Guild members have the option to bribe the guard. The amount of gold required to bribe a guard is usually much larger than the bounty for small crimes, but less than one for murder and doing so will raise the Speech skill, immediately clear your bounty and avoid having items confiscated. To do this however, you have to do five jobs in the region and complete the special task. The Bribe Guards Speech perk also grants you this option. Note, the bounty cleared is only for the crime you were recently caught doing. If you had some previous bounty as well, this won't get cleared.

Persuade guard Occasionally another option will appear if you have a low bounty. You can attempt to persuade the guard that you are not worth the effort of dealing with, due to your low bounty, and should be allowed to go free. Success is dependent on the Speech skill. If successful, you will raise Speech, but will not clear your bounty. If your speech is 75 or higher, this option will always be present (given that the guard has not been persuaded already). If you wish to persuade the guard again, wait 2 days and the option will be available again.

Go to jail If you cannot pay your bounty, you will be sent to the nearest town jail. You are able to keep one lockpick in your jail cell, which can be used to try to escape from prison. Escaping from jail can be much easier than in Oblivion with an option to pick the door or a loose grate on the floor which is much easier. There are also other methods to escape, such as pushing down a crumbling wall. You can also pickpocket the jail key from a passing guard to escape the cell. However, it is still difficult to recover your equipment.

To serve your sentence, simply sleep in the bed in your cell, and you'll sleep through your entire sentence. Depending upon the length of your sentence, your progress towards one or more skill advancements will be reset to zero. Unlike Oblivion, you will not lose any past skill increases; instead, it will take longer to obtain the next skill increase(s).

If the guards don't give you a chance to submit and go to jail or pay your bounty make sure that you sheath your weapon. The guards should then stop attacking and should hopefully hear your out :) If they don't you can try this:

Using a strong enough Calm spell will stop the guards from attacking, though speaking to them results in an arrest attempt. Another method is to punch an innocent person, keep your fists raised and then try to yield again.


  • 4
    Nice answer. On PS3 v1.8 you can drop your stolen goods and all your gold in any outside container nearby. Then simply submit and go to jail. Serve jail time and afterwards retrieve your stuff from container. Do not fast travel as this can reset container.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 1:47
  • 2
    This has a big explanation, lots of votes, but not a favorite answer?
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 5:44
  • Thank you for mentioning the calm thing! That is a super useful trick!
    – XiKuuKy
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 0:59

2 solutions:

  1. Reload a save prior to the killing;
  2. Leave the hold (I went to Riften).

Immediately travel back to just outside the town. I don't know if it works with fast travel. Drop all stolen gear. When you approach the city gates the guards will stop you with the line "Wait, don't I know you?". You can try to argue, but the guard will insist, and say you are wanted. pay the fine, and the guard will confiscate all stolen goods, and let you pass. Then pick up your gear and enter the town.

If you forget to drop your gear, Complete the Dragon event at West Tower and then go to the dungeon. head to the farthest room on the right in the dungeon and pick the lock of the evidence chest. The guards will ignore your criminal activities as you are now the Thain. take your gear back and leave the dungeon.

  • Though I know this is an old post, It should be known it is a Hold, not a Province. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 12:52

I assume you mean they won't offer you to pay your bounty and are intent on killing you. If so, did you try yielding to them by sheathing your weapon? Then they should offer you the option to pay off your bounty. You may only be able to yield if a guard captain is around with them though.

If they stop trying to kill you, you can opt to spend time in jail and then either break out, or serve your time.

Alternately, if you're a member of the Thieves Guild, and they are established in a city, you can pay off the guards for half the bounty.

  • Isn't it Doyen? Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 18:23
  • @RavenDreamer It is indeed. Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 18:26
  • What Doyen? There doesn't seem to be one in Skyrim.
    – victoriah
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 15:50
  • 2
    After having played the game more and completed the Thieves' Guild quests I've realised this answer is incorrect in the last paragraph. No "Doyen" exists. You pay the 50% bounty directly to the guard.
    – victoriah
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 21:21

When you got bounty what you can do is either pay your bounty or, if you don't want to do that, let them take you to prison. Prison isn't such a terrible idea: you can escape all prisons (except Cidnah Prison Mine), and you don't have to pay the bounty. You will find your unstolen items in a chest at the entrance of the prison.


If playing on the PC, a fast way to get rid of your bounty is by opening the console and then targeting the pursuing guards (click on a guard). The guard's RefID should show up in the screen. After that, enter the console command, paycrimegold.

That should put you just outside the nearest jail of the hold you're in, with no more bounty on you while still keeping your stolen items.

More details about the paycrimegold console command (from UESP wiki's "Console" article):

paycrimegold <0-1> <0-1> <faction ID>- Pay the bounty for the faction targeted NPC belongs to (the bounty gold will be removed from your inventory). The first 0-1 choice refers to being sent to jail: entering 1 will let you be teleported to the respective faction's jail, entering 0 won't. The second 0-1 choice refers to keeping your stolen items: entering 0 means you do not lose your stolen items, entering 1 means you do. If you don't add any choice you will be sent to jail without losing your stolen items. The faction ID is needed if you can't target an NPC. May also help in case guards attack you on sight. Faction ID's are given below:

00028170 - Crime Faction Falkreath
000267E3 - Crime Faction Eastmarch (Windhelm)
00029DB0 - Crime Faction Haafingar (Solitude)
0002816D - Crime Faction Hjaalmarch (Morthal)
0002816e - Crime Faction The Pale (Dawnstar)
0002816C - Crime Faction The Reach (Markarth)
0002816B - Crime Faction The Rift (Riften)
000267EA - Crime Faction Whiterun
0002816F - Crime Faction Winterhold
xx018279 - Crime Faction Raven Rock (Solstheim)


If you are playing on a PC, type player.cleararreststate. I found this when looking through the help commands.

  • 1
    This doesn't seem to work for me. I somehow have a bounty of 5, and if I go near a guard, they still say "Hey, I know you" and want me to pay my fine.
    – agf
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 7:05

This worked for me: 1) Equip a magic spell in both hands. 2) When the guards come running at you, get near them and keep hitting R to sheath and unsheath your magic.

The thing is takes them a while to realize your surrendering (sheathing). The action of sheathing while being attacked is what does it, so you have to spam it a bit so they realize. Hope this helps.


there are many ways. i'll list some of them here

  1. Pay for your bounty

  2. Serve Jail time

  3. do the thieves questline until you can pay your bounty that is usually half the price vs guard bribing

4 take some time off that city, since every city keep their criminal record of you differently.

5 be a thane of that city. it will clear your criminal record but any future criminal against that city will be punished


the easyest way to get a bounty off you is to wait for 3 days then it will be gone and no gard will want to kill you

press the wait button and go to 24 and do this 3 times

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