How To Get Rid Of Your Bounty In ESO

How To Get Rid Of Your Bounty In ESO

How can you lose your bounty level in Elder Scrolls Online? This is a question that gets asked a lot, especially by newer players who have accidentally killed or injured townsfolk and are now wanted by the guards. The guards in ESO will keep killing you if you don’t have enough gold on your character (does not include the bank) to pay your bounty and this can be frustrating at times.

Bounty Decreases Over Time

So the good news is that bounty decreases over time and will continue to decrease until it reaches nothing. So if you wait long enough (and don’t kill anyone or steal anything) then your bounty will go away all by itself. You should also know that bounty decreases even when you are not online. You can leave your character in the woods overnight and come back to little or no bounty in the morning.

There is some debate as to the rate at which bounty decreases in ESO and this still isn’t fully understood. The general consensus is that the rate of decrease changes based on your character level and possibly your online status.

Some numbers which are not confirmed but have been observed in the game are as follows.

  • Online, Level 1-50: 3 Gold / 3 Minutes
  • Offline, Level 1-50: 7 Gold / 3 Minutes
  • Online, Veteran Rank 1-14: ~22 Gold / 3 Minutes
  • Offline, Veteran Rank 1-14: ~66 Gold / 3 Minutes

There are varying reports of the rate at which bounty decreases and nothing is really known for certain. There is a possibility that the bounty decrease rate is connected to the amount of bounty that a character has – so it might decrease faster with more bounty and gradually slow down with less and less bounty.

All of this really just goes to say that it is not wise to wildly start killing townsfolk.

Pay Your Bounty

You can also just walk up to a guard (provided you are not kill on sight) and pay your bounty in gold. If you are kill on sight then you will be killed by the guard and the guard will take the bounty from any gold that you have on your character at the time (not the bank). The guard will also take any stolen goods (including things like rare style motifs). In order to keep your stolen goods you must launder them at a fence which are located in all of the Outlaw Refuges in the towns.

The problem comes when all your gold is stored in your bank and you can’t access it to pay your bounty because the guards keep killing you. You have three options.

  • You can choose to just head off and do a quest in the wild to get the gold. You can kill things to get even more gold.
  • You can go out on do another activity and wait for your bounty to decrease enough so that you can sneak into town.
  • You can go to Cyrodiil (where there are no guards or Justice System elements) and access your bank. You could also wait out your bounty while participating in PVP in Cyrodiil.

These are the best ways to pay, or reduce, your bounty. Cyrodiil is often the favorite choice because you can play PVP and wait for your bounty to go down or you can access your bank to withdraw gold and pay for your crimes.

Crown Store Future

This is pure speculation and there is nothing whatsoever to confirm this but it may be possible in the future that the ESO Crown Store might offer a potion or scroll (like a pardon) which removes your bounty (or some of your bounty).

This would continue the trend of convenience items being available to purchase in the Crown Store. Who knows though – this might never be a thing at all.

Prevention Is Better

Before you go on a killing spree you should know that you will likely accrue bounty which will have to either be paid or waited out. You can take some steps to ensure that your bounty does not get too high however. Make sure that you are not witnessed stealing! You can sneak around and remain hidden when you are about to steal an item (or pick a lock). It can be difficult to pickpocket but you can improve your chances with the Legerdemain Skill Line!

You can turn on “prevent the killing of innocents” in the Game Settings which will prevent some of the accidental killing or injuring of innocents when you use abilities in town or on a quest. This isn’t foolproof though and you can still attack people if you walk up to them and perform a light or heavy attack (even accidentally).

Good luck to out there! If you have any tips for removing your bounty or just the Justice System in general leave a comment below!


  • Ghosty
    Apr 8, 2016

    How long would a 343k bounty take to be gone?

    • Effinguud
      Apr 9, 2016

      A long time.

    • Onasoliya
      Apr 18, 2016

      About 238 days 21 hours and 24 mins using the idea of 3 gold for 3 mins

      • Aer
        Sep 15, 2016

        Don’t you mean 79?

    • Harlan
      Jul 11, 2016

      Looks like someone needs a new character

  • jokathewicked
    Apr 10, 2016

    343k lmao make a new toon.

  • Stevenjed
    Jun 3, 2016

    Do the thieves guild tip boards they give you 500 gold pardons per repeatable quest

  • Naughtydred
    Jun 12, 2016

    The bounty size and the rate at which it reduces seems to scale with level. My lv 4 gets 8 gold bounty if caught thieving, where as my lv 29 gets 81 gold, the white bar goes round the same amount for each one, just that’s its worth different amounts of gold. So i have come to the conclusion that the rate it gets removed is done at a percentage of the total amount of bounty to top the white bar up to full. At level 29 I reduce at 10 gold every (3?) minutes.

    Jul 6, 2016

    Well i didn’t do anything. My game crashed, froze up my machine and i had to reboot and log back in. When i did it said i had a 350 some odd bounty on me and says i’ll be killed on sight. WTF. I was just entering a tomb as part of the legacy of ancestors quest. I’ve only played this game a few hours. i didn’t even have a weapon drawn. how the f… do i have a death on sight bounty?

  • Aethelfeld
    Sep 22, 2016

    I’m a level 31 and I’ve figured mine goes down 11 gold per 3 minutes. I think it does scale with your level.

  • Smegul14
    Oct 26, 2016

    You can increase the gold the game takes off your bounty every 3 mins.

    It is in the thieves guild skill line this is dlc and it’s over 100 gold decrease every 3 mins.

  • Tian
    Jan 20, 2017

    Oh, I thought it was the other way around. Offline decay faster? lol I didn’t know!

  • margesimpson
    Feb 3, 2017

    I got a 60k bounty last night. I logged off hoping that it would be gone in the morning. NOPE. Only down to 50k… I’ve been killed by the guards twice and it hasn’t gone away. I don’t have the money to pay for it.
    I can’t train my horse because the stable-master wants nothing to do with a criminal. This is such a pain!!

  • CaptainObvious
    Feb 8, 2017

    Have you ever considered the following optinons
    1: Kill everyone until there is no witnesses. Never works but i find it fun 🙂
    2: Wait another 5 days while not playing (good luck, the game will just bring you back :/)
    Or 3: Delete your character.

  • Naux
    Apr 19, 2017

    The games been out for a while now and they still haven’t implemented the justice system fully in my opinion. Why isn’t there a criminal town where the guards only care about fights in the town? Too hard to code for them? Not to mention, like previously said, how would the stable hand know I have a bounty. I’m certain I’d be low on the list of bounties! Very frustrating system for sure.

  • LeesiGalaxy
    Apr 21, 2017

    Accidentally stole crusty bread in Mistral while trying to talk to some guy. He turned suddenly and I clicked “steal”. Now I’m quietly waiting for it or go away. -.-

  • Kirannith
    May 2, 2017

    Watch out in the Dark Brotherhood Quest ‘Signed in Blood’ when you are about to go into the cellar it’s very easy to have someone see you & you get a couple of hundred g fine. And if you happen to have to repeat part of this quest (and you don’t have a way to resurrect on spot) you have to start this from the outside of Lord Jarol’s house, so guess what happens, you get that fine again because it’s easy to be seen at the beginning part, (when you go down to the cellar). I’m waiting out a 357g fine, sigh & I’m lvl 15.

    • John O'Keefe
      Jun 18, 2017

      I hear ya, ‘Signed in Blood’ just put a 1,300 bounty on my head. I’ve got the money to cover it but I really don’t want to.

      • Chase
        Jul 2, 2017

        What level? I’m level 19 and I completed it with a 200 gold bounty…

    • Gnome
      Jul 22, 2017

      Yea i got a 403g bounty. ,_,

  • Dave
    Jul 10, 2017

    After my own tests today:

    15 mins online vs 15 mins offline, level 45, bounty at 14k

    Online = 158g off the bounty
    Offline = 79g off the bounty

    I have the first perk of swiftly forgotten.

    Either way the proof is vein. Online loses it faster.

    • Dave
      Jul 10, 2017

      I also tested it logging out and playing a different character.

      This counted as a full log out so playing a different toon still only gives 79g per 15 mins.

    • EonsEternity
      Aug 10, 2017

      The swiftly forgotten perk must not be active while offline. I believe that usually being offline decreases bounty faster.

  • Talon
    Jul 25, 2017

    Yoy can pay off your bounty at a fence.

  • me
    Sep 3, 2017

    i stole full set of iron armour… im level 8, how long will this take to go away

  • Tyson
    Feb 2, 2018

    How do u play this game offline? I haven’t seen it anywhere. I created a club on Xbox one. It’s called Elder Scrolls Team play. I’m looking for a group of cool people to play this game with…but with no prevail…so if anyone is down to team up on xbox 1 please join the club!! Adults are preferred but anyone can join!! Thanks!! My gamer tag is tyejames09! Add me up!!

    • Esoplayer
      Mar 5, 2018

      You don’t.

      It’s when you are actually offline. Away from the game.

  • Cam
    Jan 22, 2019

    This is a poorly implemented attempt to appeal to true Elder Scrolls fans. This system does not make the game feel anymore like Skyrim. Honestly it just saddles it down with annoying mechanics with little reward. No point in stealing, no point in killing citizens. At least give better rewards for being a criminal.

  • Kevin
    Feb 12, 2019

    It sucks, but you more then definately get rewarded for being a criminal. Even someone with nothing specced into being a baddie. You can sell 50 items to a fence, just spend 20 minutes to an hour grabbing stuff that is 40g+ and you can walk away making 2k + a day, even at lvl1.

    Its funny hearing how people seem to be poor overall in this game but I just started, never played the game but a little of its beta and I am over here making about 5k a day just for spending an hour having fun playing as a thief.

  • CanadianZombie
    Mar 1, 2019

    So I decided to go bananas and kill a bunch of npcs for their loot. I wanted to see if I could make it to a million dollar bounty for fun, which I achieved. It was only after I did this that I found out that guards will only kill you on sight with that level of notoriety and that bounty takes a long, long, ridiculously long time to go away.

    Basically I’ve ruined my account. No merchants want anything to do with me and every time I go into a town the likelihood of running into a guard is high which adds to my bounty when I escape them. I haven’t found a good way to get rid of the bounty.

    Lesson: Bounties = really bad.

  • Lorie Skidmore
    Oct 30, 2019

    Hello.This post was really interesting, paticularly since I was looking
    for thoughts on this matter last Wednesday.


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