THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
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6.8 Crime and Punishment
While exploring the Nine Holds of Skyrim, there are bound to be points in your adventure where you commit a Crime and have a Bounty placed on your head.
Whether this is a petty theft from a citizen of Markarth or an all-out assault on the city guard of Riften, it is prudent to learn the laws that govern Crime and Punishment... and how you can bend them to your advantage!
Criminal Activities and Holds
Perhaps the most important lesson to learn is that each of the Nine Holds keeps their own record of crimes and bounties.
You may be wanted in Haafingar Hold, but your bounty doesn’t transfer to neighboring Hjaalmarch, where you may still be considered a model citizen.
Your actions are only considered criminal if they affect a non-hostile character or their property. Defending yourself is never a crime. So feel free to fight back if:
You were attacked first, and the attack was unprovoked.
You have agreed to a duel or brawl during a conversation.
You’re attacking an enemy, regardless of who attacked first...