JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A Jefferson County woman is upset after she got an expensive ticket for not having her truck’s registration up to date. State law requires you to renew your vehicle registration once a year, on the month it was first registered. A reminder is usually mailed before the expiration date.

Betsy Messick said she is a law-abiding citizen and pays her bills on time. On the license plate of each Tennessee tag is a sticker, a decal, that shows the month of your registration. The state department of revenue will send you a reminder about six weeks in advance of the expiration date of the registration. If you forget to register your vehicle on time, either intentionally or innocently as Messick said she did, the fine can be pretty substantial.

Messick rarely drives her truck, but she took it to the Jefferson Country trash dump last month, and while on highway 11E, not two miles from her home, she was stopped by a Jefferson County patrol officer.

“I got pulled by the police officer. He told me that my tag was expired. Well, I had no idea, none. I keep up on all my bills like you wouldn’t believe. I pay them before they are due. When they come in, I pay them,” said Messick.

She said she would have paid her registration fee had she been reminded it was due.

“We never received a notification that they were due,” said Messick. “Every year I have lived here I have gotten notifications but this time I did not.”

She has since renewed her registration, but last month it was five months overdue when she was pulled over.

“I always received notification and I told him that, I said I’ve always received it, he said, that’s a courtesy of the state to do that,” said Messick

Jefferson County Clerk Frank Herndon told us reminders to renew your vehicle registration come from the State Department of Revenue, Vehicle Division. Herndon added it is a complimentary reminder. The Department of Revenue tells WATE, that it sends postcard reminders to registrants in the mail about one month before their tags expire.

Messick said she was given no second chance by the police officer. Nevertheless, the fine is $128.50 for violating the state registration law. Messick is due in court in May where she plans to plead not guilty.

County Clerk offices across the state offer online services and one of them is a free service – a renewal reminder – that will allow you to receive email or text notifications when your tags are about to expire.

Messick has gone old-school — in her kitchen, she’s written down when the registration of her vehicles is due. She also says it’s a good idea for everyone to online and signs up for the free reminder.

“I just feel like people need to know so that they’re not caught in the same predicament that I was,” said Messick.

The postcard reminder, sent by the state, may be easy to throw away without even looking at it because it looks somewhat like those vehicle “warranty” reminders you get once a week and throw away. The state switched last year from sending letters to less expensive postcard reminders.

If, however, you are fined and go to court, make sure you take verification that you have registered your vehicle, and you are up to date.