A driver who tried to skirt the state’s vehicle-registration system by coloring in their expired tabs with a black marker was given a joking “A” for effort by the Washington State Patrol — but also a $228 ticket.

Patrol spokeswoman Heather Axtman tweeted a picture of the doctored tabs Thursday, saying the scofflaw’s “coloring skills are kind of on point” but were not good enough to fool a Snohomish County-based trooper.

The trooper was behind the car with the altered tab when something about it caught her eye. For one thing, most of the tabs she’s been seeing lately are white, the color of the 2020 tabs (the 2019 tabs are black). For another, it wasn’t reflective, Axtman said.

“It’s second nature for troopers to pick up those little things,” Axtman said.

The driver could have been charged with altering state documents, but the trooper decided to just give the driver a ticket for expired tabs.

Axtman said it’s not unusual for drivers to try to find different ways around laws, such as using dolls, dummies and mannequins to use the HOV lanes, but this particular trick was novel.

“It’s one of the more creative ones I’ve seen,” she said. “It was kind of an ‘A’ for effort, but why don’t you just go get the tab?”