Education and Training
If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer from the private legal community, the court can appoint a government-paid lawyer called a “public defender” to represent you.
In order to have a public defender, you’ll have to convince the judge that you can’t afford to hire an attorney on your own. The judge may ask you to fill out a form detailing your financial resources, assets, income and debts. You may also need to provide the court with documentation such as paystubs to prove your income level.
Standards for how much money you can make and still qualify for a public defender vary greatly from state to state, and sometimes from one court to another.