A Shoreview man will spend at least the next three years behind bars following his sixth conviction in Minnesota related to driving while intoxicated (DWI). Despite his lengthy arrest history and prior record, which includes convictions on two felonies related to driving while intoxicated, he’s never been required to spend time in prison.
A fast food drive-thru attendant in Anoka County called police in March 2018 after a man in a silver Volkswagon Jetta had gone through the drive-thru lane and had been slumped in the driver’s seat, appeared to be foaming at the mouth and was unresponsive to the attendant’s questions, according to the criminal complaint.
Police arrived as the Jetta exited the parking lot and they followed the vehicle as it entered 35W. The responding officer said the Jetta reached a speed of 80 mph and was swerving before pulling it over and identifying the driver as Samuel Anselm Abdullai, Jr.
The officer expressed concern about Abdullai’s ability to drive the vehicle and he responded by asking if the officer would just drive him or follow him home instead of pulling him over. Instead, police asked Abdullai to perform some field sobriety tests and take a preliminary breath test. Abdullai performed some tests but initially refused to submit to the breath test. Abdullai was arrested and in a subsequent search of his vehicle officers found a container believed to contain alcohol, the complaint said.
According to a check on Abdullai’s driver’s license by police during the stop, his vehicle was supposed to be equipped with an ignition interlock device – a program run by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that requires some driving offenders to have hand-held device installed near their steering wheel that includes a blowing tube. The device measures alcohol concentration and prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a certain alcohol concentration level after the driver blows into the tube. The Jetta that Abdullai was driving was not equipped with the ignition interlock device. The vehicle belonged to his father who later told police that he didn’t know why Abdullai had taken his vehicle instead of his own, the complaint said.
Abdullai, 30, had five alcohol-related driving convictions prior to the March 2018 incident. Two of those convictions were felony level in 2015 and 2014, two were gross misdemeanor (GM) level in 2011 and 2009, and the first in 2007 was a misdemeanor.
Abdullai originally received stayed sentences on the felony cases in 2015 and 2014, where he was convicted on refusal to submit to a chemical test and operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, respectively. In both cases he was instead sentenced to 365 and 90 days in local jail on work release, respectively, and supervised probation.
On the 2011 GM conviction for refusal to submit to chemical test during an arrest in March 2010, Abdullai was given 30 days in local jail and 60 days on electronic home monitoring, reduced from a total of 270 days, and was placed on supervised probation. A second charge of driving under the influence was dismissed in a plea agreement in that case.
In the 2009 case, Abdullai was convicted on one GM charge each of second-degree DWI-refusal to submit to chemical test and third-degree aggravated DWI. He was given a stayed 365 day sentence, and was only required to serve 45 days on electronic home monitoring on each count, served concurrently, along with supervised probation.
In the most recent 2018 Anoka County case, Abdullai eventually consented to provide a breath sample within about 90 minutes of the initial traffic stop. His sample registered an alcohol concentration of .18, over twice Minnesota’s legal alcohol-concentration driving limit of 0.08, the complaint said.
Abdullai, who listed a home address on Grotto Street in Shoreview, was sentenced on May 16 to sixty-two months on one count of felony first-degree DWI with enhancement for a prior felony DWI conviction. A second charge of DWI over .08 within two hours was dismissed. With credit for 55 days already served in jail, Abdullai is expected to serve 39 months in prison under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, which specify a minimum term of imprisonment equal to two-thirds of the executed sentence, and the remainder of the term to be served on supervised release. His anticipated release date is August 2022.
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