James Suitte (defendant) was arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle in New York. During the incident, police officers found a loaded pistol in Suitte’s possession. The pistol was registered to Suitte in North Carolina, but not in New York. Suitte was charged in state trial court with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, which was a class D felony. Suitte pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, which was a class A misdemeanor. Prior to sentencing, the trial judge noted that Suitte had never before been convicted of a crime, had carried the pistol for protection because he operated his tailor shop in a high-crime area, and was an otherwise upstanding citizen. The trial judge sentenced Suitte to 30 days’ imprisonment and three years of probation. Suitte appealed.