Table of Contents
Elite Dangerous Crimes, Fines & Bounties
In Elite Dangerous you can get fines and bounties depending on what actions you have done. Crimes can range from simple accidents like minor collisions, to in-game murder and come in a “minor” or a “major” category:
| Firing weapons in no-fire zone.
Collisions when speeding.
Detected carrying stolen goods.
Detected carrying illegal goods.
| Attack a ship/station when they are not of wanted status.
Murder/destruction of ship/station.
You will receive a fine for minor crimes like running into someone in your ship you will be given a fine. If a fine is left unpaid for 7 days, it will mature into a bounty and you will get wanted status in that system.
You can repay your fine at any station that the issuing faction controls (so make sure you check you are going to a station that the faction controls by checking in the system map) at any point.
If you are destroyed, you still need to pay your fines.
Legacy fines are what bounties are “converted” to if the bounty you have is either cleared or expires after 7 days.
The legacy fines never expire and can only be removed by paying them off at a station controlled by the jurisdiction that issued the original bounty. Destroying your ship does not clear your fines.
Oddly, legacy fines do not appear in the transactions tab like other fines and bounties so it is hard to know what is outstanding.
Rationale for legacy fines
Prior to legacy fines, if you were destroyed with a bounty on your head then the bounty was cleared and, apart from the destruction of your ship, there was no “penalty” for the player with the bounty.
Players were abusing this by getting a very large bounty on their head, and then mutually arranging to meet in-game with another commander who would attack and destroy the commander with the bounty. The attacking commander would claim the bounty and get a large amount of in-game cash for no effort, and the commander with the bounty would carry on as usual with no penalty. Some people were doing this in exchange for real-world cash.
The introduction of legacy fines means that if a commander does this trick now, they need to pay off the legacy fine after their destruction making it less appealing.
A convoluted system of timers and active/dormant bounties was introduced in Retail 1.3.
If you commit a major crime (e.g. murder an innocent ship) or let a fine for a minor crime mature into a bounty you will receive an active bounty from the minor faction who has jurisdiction of the part of space you are in. You currently only get bounties from system minor factions, and not from major factions (as of Retail 1.3).
Bounties for minor crimes such as accidentally firing on an innocent ship will only last for 10 minutes, but bounties for major crimes such as murder last 7 days.
While the bounty timer is active you will have wanted status in that system, and will not be able to pay off your bounty! Fines gained while the bounty is active will be added to your bounty, but extra bounties gained are added to your bounty and reset the timer!
After the bounty's timer has timed out, you may see “on H-jump” where the countdown used to be - this means you need to leave the system and then come back for the bounty to fully expire (this is apparently to do with how ED calculates wanted status only on entry to a system)
Clearing/paying off Bounties
If you have an bounty there are several ways of resolving the situation and clearing it - it varies depending on if your bounty is detected or not.
- Bounty detected and you are destroyed
- If a commander (NPC or human, or a station) detects your bounty and destroys your ship, your bounty is cleared and you are given a legacy fine for the same amount.
- Ship destroyed without bounty being detected
- If your ship is destroyed without your bounty being detected (e.g. crashing your ship into an asteroid or the outside of a station) then the bounty becomes a dormant bounty.
- Dormant bounties can only be detected by authorities (stations or authority ships) in the jurisdiction that issued it. If they detect your dormant bounty, it returns to an active bounty state with a new 7 day timer.
- If the dormant bounty is not detected within 7 days, it is removed and you are given a legacy fine for the same amount.
- Bounty not detected and ship not destroyed
- If your active bounty is not claimed or made dormant within 7 days, it is removed and you are given a legacy fine for the same amount.
In all cases, when a bounty is removed a legacy fine is added in the same jurisdiction that issued your bounty.
The workaround/exploit to clearing an active bounty early instead of waiting 7 days is to buy a cheap ship (e.g. sidewinder) and get scanned by the authority. The authority will destroy your ship, and your bounty will be “claimed”, leaving you with a legacy fine instead of a bounty & wanted status.
You can then repay the resulting legacy fine after you respawn and carry on as if nothing happened.
The concept of speeding in Elite Dangerous was introduced in Retail 1.3. When you are inside a station's no-fire zone and you go above 100m/s (in any ship) you will be considered to be speeding and a warning will appear on your cockpit's display above the power distribution area.
Speeding is not a crime on its own, but if you hit another ship when you are speeding it will be considered a minor crime and you will be fined.