A domestic violence conviction will be on her criminal record forever. This will affect her ability to get a job, possibly affect her ability to get a loan in the future, and prevent anyone in the home where she resides from possessing a firearm.
Therefore, if possible, it's important to get the charge dismissed. The most likely way to do this is to negotiate a deferred dismissal that allows her to undergo counselling, community service in exchange for a dismissal of the charges once she completes those requirements.
In order to do this, she will need an attorney. So, I would definitely plead not guilty this morning and indicate to the court that she intends to get an attorney, without question. Any other plea--guilty or no contest--will end with a conviction. Being her first offense, there's a great chance that you can do better with an experienced attorney negotiating a plea.
Please let me know, if you have follow-up questions.
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