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I have gotten a shoplifting charge (<$200) in the state of NM and am trying to fill out the "ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION FOR INDIGENT DEFENSE SERVICES" application for a court appointed attorney. I am required to provide proof of Income, Indigency Affidavit Form (Notarized) and copies of most recent Income Tax Returns. I dont know how to provide proof of income (or what that looks like for me), what exactly I'm supposed to bring and show the notary, what I am supposed to do about the tax return forms, and whether or not ill even qualify.

I am an 18 year old who's "job" it is to be going to university and completing career certifications. Therefore my dad pays me an allowance of no more than $50 a week to cover meals and gas. Beyond that I haven't had much need for, nor have ever had a paying job. Because of this I've never filled a tax form or had an employer for an income letter or pay stubs. So how can I provide proof of income compliant with the expectations of the court?

All google has done for me is tell me I need a lawyer, tell me the options (that I dont have) to provide proof of income, and freak me out with big scary legal words that I dont know.

  • Best thing to do is call the court and ask them. – BlueDogRanch Jun 28 at 23:54
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I second @BlueDogRanch's comment. Look up the # for the Clerk of the Court and just ask. Don't worry, they receive "how do I" and "What does _ mean?" calls all the time. You don't even have to say "I got x charge," you can just reference a case #.

With respect to the notary, you'll need to bring that Indigency Affidavit Form you need notarized (and anything else you may need notarized) and sign it (maybe fill it out) in the presence of the notary so the notary can sign as the witness. I do not know whether you need to bring documents proving what you're saying on the form is true for the notary to look at. You should ask that question as well as what else, if anything, you should bring with you when you call to make your appointment.

You mentioned university - are you already a university student or beginning this fall? If you're already a student, you may wish to check with the university if they have any attorney services for students. Mine had such a service funded through/by the student government. Up to you if you wish to use the university's provided legal services, but you should keep in mind that anything you tell to an attorney must remain confidential, so it's not like there's any chance of your professor's giving you side-eye via Zoom this fall!

Finally, don't shoplift again - like, ever! Best of luck.

Addendum:

After noting @Dale M's answer, I wanted to add that, yeah, it probably will be your family's money they look at. Confirm this, as various jurisdictions do various things differently, but I'm pretty confident that's the case. That said, if the university program exists for you, that's not based on income, but rather simply being a student there.

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You don't have any income

The allowance your father pays you is not income.

As to how to report that you need to contact the person to whom you need to make the report and ask.

However, your income doesn't matter

Even though you are an adult, because you are a dependant of your dad, it's his income (and your mother's if they co-habit) that needs to be reported. Assuming that he has a reasonable income (such that he can afford to send his child to university, for example) that will be too much for qualification for Indigent Defence.

You (or your dad) will need to hire and pay for your own lawyer or represent yourself.

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In the United States, being a notary does not qualify a person to give legal advice. Lawyers give legal advice. Many lawyers are also notaries, but it is being a notary that lets them give legal advice; being a notary has nothing to do with it.

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  • Im aware of the difference, I need a notary to notarize the application to receive a lawyer form the court. I’m asking if I need to present other documents, ID, application, or tax forms to the notary for their signature – Tommy Woldt Jun 29 at 1:55

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