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Guards are NPCs, usually found in towns and cities in Skyrim. If you commit a crime, they can arrest you and will attack if the arrest is resisted. Under some conditions, guards can be bribed; see the crime page for details.
Guards by Region
All of the guards below will pay attention to your bounty in the hold that they are patrolling for, and only attack you if you resist arrest when they try to arrest you. Note that it is possible for a guard in the wilderness to wander into a different hold, usually because of combat, but you will still only be arrested if you have a bounty in the hold that that guard is from. In some quests, there are NPCs called guards who do not obey these rules, and may attack you despite not having tried to arrest you; most of those NPCs are in the Reach.
- A number of city, town, and hold guards fail to respawn due to missing respawn flags in the game data. This can potentially lead to depopulation of the entire guard force in the affected areas over time.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.7 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.