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How to pay a Starfield bounty

Learn how to clear a Starfield bounty and remove it before you face its consequences

A character shoots at another in Starfield.
Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

How do you pay a Starfield bounty? If you've committed a crime and now the powers that be are out to get you, you'll probably want to find a way to clear that bounty so it doesn't cause problems for you. In Starfield, when a faction has a bounty on you, members of that faction will be hostile toward you and attack you. And, trust us — it's a lot easier to go through the game without guards trying to put bullets in your head because you took something that wasn't yours.

Unfortunately, a Starfield bounty won't just go away. You only have a few options to clear it, and they typically involve paying it off or doing hard time. If you want to get rid of a Starfield bounty, here's what you need to know, including where to pay to remove the bounty and what to expect if the guards haul you off to the slammer.

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How to clear a Starfield bounty

To clear a Starfield bounty, you must either pay a fee, serve jail time, or attempt to bribe the guards. Unfortunately, those are your main options, as the bounty won't disappear with time. (If guards or faction members kill you, that will remove the bounty, but you'll also suffer the penalties of dying in the game.)

Here's what you can expect with each option.

How to pay a Starfield bounty

If you want to pay to remove a Starfield bounty before any guards accost you, you'll need to find a Trackers Alliance Self-Service Bounty Clearance Kiosk. You can find these in every major settlement in the game, and you'll often see them near where you land your ship or at the bar. The amount you'll owe depends on the severity of the crime. You cannot use the kiosk to pay a bounty against a particular faction if you're in the same airspace as the faction hunting you. So, for example, if you have a bounty on you in Freestar Collective space, you must go to a United Colonies-controlled planet to find a kiosk where you can clear it.

To remove the Starfield bounty, simply interact with the kiosk and select "Clear Bounty," which will charge you the fee and then automatically remove the bounty. Bounty costs can range from as low as 600 credits all the way up to 100,000 credits.

It can be challenging to access a Self-Service Bounty Kiosk when you're already a wanted criminal in a particular faction's airspace, so note that you can build your own Self-Service Bounty Clearance item in any outpost. You can find it as an option in the Miscellaneous tab in Build Mode.

If you have a Starfield bounty on you while you're in a particular faction's territory and a guard of that faction approaches you, you will have the option to pay it off to that guard. However, if you pay it off this way, you will also lose any stolen goods in your inventory. If you do not pay off the bounty then and there, you must select one of the next options.

Serving jail time

If you can't afford to pay off the Starfield bounty — or simply don't want to — you can allow the guard to take you to jail. The length of your jail sentence is contingent upon the crime's severity. If you choose jail time, you will have to stay in the jail a set number of days and will also lose XP. However, your XP will never go below zero, and you will not lose levels sitting through your jail sentence. If you choose to go to jail, you will also lose any stolen goods in your inventory.

If you end up in the slammer, you'll find yourself in a holding cell where you can either wait out the sentence or try to escape. However, even if you escape successfully, the Starfield bounty will remain active. There is also the option to fight the guards, but this tends to be ill-advised as they'll generally overpower you.

You can recover your stolen goods by accessing the jail's storage box. However, the storage box lock is an expert-level lock, which means it will be difficult to crack.

Offer a bribe

In some cases, you can bribe your way out of a Starfield bounty. For example, you can attempt to bribe the guards on Neon for an initial cost of 3,000 credits.

If you're interested in the art of bribery, you can select the Negotiation skill in the second tier of the social skill tree. This allows you to negotiate and pay lower bribes as you improve your Negotiation skill. If you reach level four, you can eliminate bounties with bribes that cost nothing. Your Charisma skill can also impact your success as you attempt to bribe guards.

However, if your bribe is unsuccessful, the authorities will arrest you, and your Starfield bounty fee will be even higher. Generally, you cannot offer a bribe if the bounty amount exceeds 10,000 credits.

If you successfully bribe your way out of the situation, the game will still teleport you to jail, but you are free to leave.

The Starfield bounty system explained

If someone catches you stealing, pickpocketing, attacking an NPC, trespassing, or hacking, their faction will place a bounty on you. If you get caught committing multiple crimes, the Starfield bounty amount increases. Once a faction places a bounty on you, you cannot travel to settlements controlled by that faction as members will attack you on sight or demand you pay up. Faction ships can target you even if you are not in their airspace, so be careful as you roam the Settled Systems if you have an outstanding bounty.

Sometimes, having a bounty on you will prevent you from being able to complete certain quests or join certain factions. Once you clear the Starfield bounty, you're considered in good standing once again and should be able to pursue the mission or join the faction, assuming you've also met all other criteria.

The cost of a Starfield bounty and severity of the jail sentence differ according to the region, your reputation, and other factors beyond simply the severity of the crime.

You can check the bounty a faction has on you by opening the Starmap, selecting a solar system, and looking at the top right corner of the screen. There, you will find the system's main faction and the credits on your bounty. If you do not see a number, you have no Starfield bounty in that territory.

You will only gain bounties if authorities catch you for the crime. So, if you steal something and are undetected because you are sneaking, you may avoid becoming subject to a Starfield bounty. Some of your companions may report more serious crimes they witness, such as piracy or murder, and will leave your crew if you commit these serious crimes.

The game does not place bounties on you for attacking the Crimson Fleet unless you join its faction. Once you are a member of the faction, you will accrue bounties for crimes committed against other members.

That's everything you need to know about how to remove a Starfield bounty. As you play through Bethesda's new space RPG, you'll also want to check out our guides to the best Starfield builds, Starfield character creation, and all Starfield traits and how they work. We've also got guides on the game's romance options, best mods and a list of the console commands and cheats.

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